Updated: Apr 7, 2020
Total Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Cook Time: 15 Minutes
I have to admit, I sort of stumbled into this sauce through trial and error, adjusting things that were not quite right, and working through some of the complex flavors. But now that I have it in my wheelhouse, it is a SAUCE. It can be used as we have here, on perfectly cooked Casarecce pasta, but it can also be eaten with bread, potatoes, and roasted or fresh veggies. Even though the sauce is completely vegan, it has a creamy quality that almost gives it a romesco-like quality. Walnuts may be a non-traditional choice, but they give a nice silky texture and an individual flavor from the more traditional pine nuts for pesto or toasted almonds in a romesco (though if available, either would make a great substitute.) This is an extremely quick and easy recipe that can be accomplished as long as you have a food processor on hand. The only reason that prep time has been stretched out to 30 Minutes is that burrata cheese is best served lukewarm.
Burrata cheese is a fresh cow milk cheese traditional to Apulia and other parts of Southern Italy. It is made the same as fresh mozzarella, until the forming stage. There they shape the mozzarella into a pouch, fill it with the scraps of mozzarella and cream before closing the pouch and allowing the cheese to take on a new texture entirely. Soft and intact on the outside, creamy and fresh on the inside. Depending on the cream content, cutting into a burrata is like cutting into a perfectly poached egg, with its creamy texture running into the dish underneath it.
Burrata would be amazing with any shape of pasta, but when thinking up this dish, Casarecce seemed the obvious choice.
As an ingredient popular in the southern parts of Italy, Casarecce or Cassareccia is a heartier, 'folded' pasta. It's thick, twisting texture lends itself to pestos nicely and it is traditionally used with Mediterranean ingredients. We've been making Casarecce for a while now and we love the strange, twisting, sometimes unpredictable shapes that can extrude. This shape can take a little longer to cook than other shapes, so make sure to test the texture of your pasta before straining.
16 oz Casarecce Pasta
1/2 cup Sun-dried Tomato - drained
1/2 cup Hot Cherry Peppers (We use Tutto Calabria) - drained
1/4 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 cup Walnuts
3 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Aleppo Pepper Flakes
Dry White Wine or Water as needed
Buratta Cheese - 1 per serving
Flaky Sea Salt
1. Start by rem oving the Burrata Cheese from the refrigerator, dry it lightly and place it on a dish. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving so that it can rise to room temperature.
2. To make the pasta, heat a heavily salted pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta for 9-10 minutes, or until al dente. Strain and place in a large pot.
3. In a food processor, combine all ingredients for the sauce. Process until all ingredients are combined and walnuts reach a sandy texture. The sauce will be thick. If it needs to be thinned down, use dry white wine or water, blend a tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired texture.
4. Toss the noodles in about 1/2 cup sauce.
5. Place in serving dishes, top with a burrata, basil and flaky sea salt, drizzle with olive oil and serve