Angel Hair Pasta Amuse with Caviar Garnish

Call me crazy if you like, but I love to look at pictures of food – it’s a source of inspiration. Sometimes the pictures come with a recipe or a link to one – and that’s fine. I like reading recipes, then tweaking them to our particular tastes. Sometimes a picture is all I need to run with an idea. Such is the case with this recipe. All I had for inspiration was the photo. I stared at it for the longest time – until a light came on.

I wanted to create a cold pasta “amuse” (love that word!). I knew I needed Angel Hair Pasta, some thin slices of tomato, a little caviar and chives for garnish. What I was struggling with was what to mix with the pasta – something creamy, flavorful and binding – just enough “glue” to hold the pasta twirl. Something with a little more color than the photo snatched from the internet for inspiration. Think . . . I’ve got it! Basil Mayonnaise . . . that very same Basil Mayonnaise that I love with my BLTs. A little modification was in order – the basil needed to be scaled back, but that was about it.

Angel Hair Pasta with Caviar Garnish
Ingredients – Basil Mayonnaise Dressing
¼ Cup Basil leaves (not much – looking more for a subtle flavor with less color)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Garlic Clove, minced
Zest of ½ a Lemon
½ Cup Mayonnaise

Ingredients – Pasta Amuse
½ Lb Angel Hair Pasta
2 or 3 Roma Tomatoes, thinly sliced
Black Caviar for garnish (see note for variation)
Chives for garnish

For Basil Mayonnaise Dressing: In a blender or small food processor, combine young, tender basil leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and lemon zest. Process until finely chopped as smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Place mayonnaise into a small bowl. Whisk in basil mixture until thoroughly combined. Chill until ready to use.

For the Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil. Place pasta into boiling water and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta and allow to cool.

Once pasta is cooled, add basil mayonnaise dressing a little at a time until pasta is lightly coated with dressing.

To assemble: Thinly slice tomatoes. Place 2 or 3 slices of tomato into the bottle of individual small salad plates or shallow bowls.

With a fork, twirl some pasta to give it a nice rounded shape. Gently slide from fork on top of sliced tomatoes. Garnish with a little caviar and chives.

Serve immediately.

Note: For a little variation and to add some “Holiday” color, try Red Caviar in place of the black. If you can get it, gold would also be pretty.

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