The boxes are unpacked (well, most of 'em, anyway). How should I commemorate the occasion? By hangin' out in the kitchen, of course. And since I was Italian in a previous life, the menu item had to be pasta.
Pasta Ponza. One of my fave Giada De Laurentiis (see Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California) go-to recipes. It's fast, has great flavor, and is easy peasy. If you're wanting a hearty meatdish, this recipe isn't for you. If you're wanting a bowl of ziti with which to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine, you'll be satisfied.
Butter for greasing
1 cups red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained [I drain but don't rinse mine; I like the small kick of vinegar]
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned breadcrumbs
1 pound ziti or other short tube-shaped past [I prefer a rigate pasta, even though I didn't have any tonight]
1 1/4 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Place the tomatoes, capers, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in the prepared baking dish. Toss to coat.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the tomato mixture. Drizzle the top with olive oil, and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden [DO NOT under-bake ... if anything, go a little on the brown side; otherwise, the mixture will be mushy. Not good]. Cool for 5 minutes
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
Place the pasta in a large serving bowl. Spoon the tomato mixture onto the pasta. Add the cheese and toss well. Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately [as is often the case, I think it tastes better the next day!].