Sunday, September 30, 2007

My First Daring Bakers Challenge:Cinnamon Rolls & Sticky Buns

Cinnamon rolls.

Sticky buns.

I was so excited (and, um, nervous) about participating in my first Daring Bakers Challenge, I decided to cover it "live blogger" style.

Of course, that doesn't really work when you publish the coverage almost a month later ... so, suspend disbelief people! Put yourself into the exciting times of September 5th, where flour flew and yeast grew and the result was sweetness and light drizzled with tasty goodness.

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

10 am: Set up mise en place (I'm actually doing a mise en place!), pull out butter and egg. Throw in a load of laundry; finish prepping for tomorrow’s classes.

11am: Pull out buttermilk. Grab lunch; throw laundry in dryer.

12:15: Begin working on dough.

12:44: Dough begins its first proof. So far, so good. The dough is just as the recipe says; “silky and supple, tacky but not sticky.” I didn’t have to add any milk (or flour for that matter) but maybe that’s because I added 1 ¼ cups of buttermilk off the bat. I like the light lemony smell (and, um, taste) the raw dough offers.

Also, God bless Kitchen Aid stand mixers! The dough is beautiful, but if I’d had to knead it for 15 minutes, the dough that wasn’t stuck to my fingers (and hair, and shirt, and countertop…) would be a hideous, lumpy mess.

Next up: rolling out the dough. This is what has me the most concerned. I want to make the smaller rolls but Reinhart’s admonition that the dough shouldn’t be rolled out too thin or “the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump” has me worried. The last time I made cinnamon rolls (and granted, this was 10+ years ago), I wound up with rolls that were pretty decent out of the oven but were very chewy and unappealing after they cooled off. (Come to think of it, I had to knead those little bastards by hand, too. Maybe this is why I’ve shied away from yeast breads—those rolls were pretty difficult. Huh --Who knew the DBers would provide a therapy session for cooking-related trauma? Thanks DBers!) I hope these guys turn out as nicely as everyone elses’!

After proofing, just before the dough is rolled out.

I’m planning on dividing the dough in half and using cinnamon/nutmeg sugar for one side and cardamom/cinnamon sugar for the other. My concern is that the cardamom won’t be punchy enough on its own. (Maybe I have a weak batch of ground cardamom?)

I’m also thinking about trying each version with the icing and caramel (separately, of course!) but I’m going to wait until later to make a final decision on that one. OK, time to walk to dog while the yeast blooms and the dough rises.

3:56pm: Wow! I just finished rolling out the dough – it’s amazing. It’s looking great! It has that faint tangy smell of a sweet yeast bread (is that from the yeast, the lemon extract or a combo of both?) and its texture is smooth and pillowy soft. It’s thrilling! I actually made this -- and it looks good!

I divided the dough in half to accommodate two different fillings: cinnamon/nutmeg (3/4 tsp. cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and 3 Tbsp. plus 1 ½ tsp.sugar) and cardamom (just shy of a full1 tsp of cardamom plus 3 Tbsp. plus 1 ½ tsp.sugar). The smells that filled my kitchen! Spicy, warm, exotic – delicious!

After sprinkling each side with spiced sugar and rolling up the dough, I had a little bit of trouble getting the rolls to cut evenly. But I found a light coat of spray oil on the blade of a bread knife made quick work of things; I reapplied the oil after every two or three cuts.

Right now, two rolls (one cardamom, one cinnamon/nutmeg) are proofing while all the others are on parchment-lined baking sheets in the freezer. (That way, we won’t be “forced” to gobble them all up in one sitting…) Once the rolls are frozen, I’ll transfer them to Ziplock bags for easier storage.

I can’t wait to see how the rolls bake up!

8:09pm: The rolls have been baked and glazed with the fondant. They look quite pretty, but the texture -- . They’re not tender; they’re not the soft gooey mouth feel of traditional cinnamon buns. They’re more like bread. Yummy, tasty, flavorful bread, but not what I was expecting. Maybe I baked them too long? Maybe they’ll soften up under the caramel glaze?

9:28pm: I ask the DBers for input:
OK, I made the rolls (half cinnamon, half cardamom) and it seemed like everything was going really well (gorgeous, pillowy soft dough! ) until I poked my fork into the baked buns. They’re not soft and almost gooey as I’d expected; they’re rather bread-like. Albeit very, very tasty bread. I like the cardamom better than the cinnamon one, but that didn’t stop me from scarfing the cinnamon down lickety-split. (And, mmm mmm for the lightly lemony fondant glaze.)I only baked off two, so I have 11 rolls in the freezer, and am thinking I might get a softer product by using them for sticky rolls instead of glazing them with fondant…

Anyway, what kind of texture should this recipe yield? I don’t have much experience with yeast breads (which is why I was both excited and nervous by this month’s challenge!). I’m open to any and all suggestions; maybe I should give things another go?

It turns out that, yes, this is the texture they're supposed to yield (phew!). A few days later, I tackled the sticky buns. They baked up beautifully, and the taste & texture were FABULOUS. They're softer and more gooey, plus the caramel is to die for. I prefer the sticky buns, but that doesn't mean I'd turn my nose up at a cinnamon roll, either!

I had a wonderful time with this challenge. Big thanks to Marce (this month's host) and Lis and Ivonne (the DB originators) for bringing it to all of us.

Next up: the October challenge!

Cinnamon Rolls & Sticky Buns Recipe

Click here for photos and a discussion of making this recipe.

Cinnamon and Sticky Buns
(from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice)
Daring Bakers Challenge #10: September 2007
Host: Marce (Pip in the City)

Days to Make: One (1)
Active/Resting/Baking Time: 15 minutes to mix, 3 1/2 hours fermentation/shaping/proofing, 20 - 40 minutes to bake
Recipe Quantity: Eight(1) - twelve (12) large rolls or twelve (12) - sixteen (16) small rolls

Making the Dough


6 1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 tablespoons (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter or margarine
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon grated zest of 1 lemon
3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast*
1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature OR 3 tablespoons powdered milk (DMS) and 1 cup water
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, or any other spices you want to use, cardamom, ginger, allspice, etc.)
White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns or caramel glaze for sticky buns (at the end of the recipe.)
Walnuts, pecans, or other nuts (for sticky buns.)
Raisins or other dried fruit, such as dried cranberries or dried cherries (for sticky buns, optional.)
*Instant yeast contains about 25% more living cells per spoonful than active dry yeast, regardless of the brand. Instant yeast is also called rapid-rise or fast-rising.

Step 1 - Making the Dough: Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl and do it by hand).

Note: if you are using powdered milk, cream the milk with the sugar, and add the water with the flour and yeast.

Whip in the egg and lemon extract/zest until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Step 2 - Fermentation: Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

Step 3 - Form the Buns: Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Don´t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns.

Step 4 - Prepare the Buns for Proofing:

For cinnamon buns: line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart so that they aren´t touching but are close to one another.
For sticky buns: coat the bottom of 1 or more baking dishes or baking pans with sides at least 1 1/2 inches high with a 1/4 inch layer of the caramel glaze. Sprinkle on the nuts and raisins (if you are using raisins or dried fruit.) You do not need a lot of nuts and raisins, only a sprinkling. Lay the pieces of dough on top of the caramel glaze, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag.

Step 5 - Proof the Buns: Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size. You may also retard the shaped buns in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pans out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof.

Step 6 - Bake the Buns:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf for cinnamon buns but on the lowest shelf for sticky buns.

Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes or the sticky buns 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. [NOTE: Most of the DBers found that the cinnamon & sticky buns were finished more quickly than this. I pulled my sticky buns out after 20 minutes. Check the baking process early & often. --LR] If you are baking sticky buns, remember that they are really upside down (regular cinnamon buns are baked right side up), so the heat has to penetrate through the pan and into the glaze to caramelize it. The tops will become the bottoms, so they may appear dark and done, but the real key is whether the underside is fully baked. It takes practice to know just when to pull the buns out of the oven.

Step 8 - Cool the buns:

For cinnamon buns, cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak white fondant glaze across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving.

For the sticky buns, cool the buns in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove them by flipping them over into another pan. Carefully scoop any run-off glaze back over the buns with a spatula. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.

Toppings for the Buns:

White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns

Cinnamon buns are usually topped with a thick white glaze called fondant. There are many ways to make fondant glaze, but here is a delicious and simple version, enlivened by the addition of citrus flavor, either lemon or orange. You can also substitute vanilla extract or rum extract, or simply make the glaze without any flavorings.

Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon or orange extract and 6 tablespoons to 1/2 cup of warm milk, briskly whisking until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the milk slowly and only as much as is needed to make a thick, smooth paste.

When the buns have cooled but are still warm, streak the glaze over them by dipping the tines of a fork or a whisk into the glaze and waving the fork or whisk over the tops. Or, form the streaks by dipping your fingers in the glaze and letting it drip off as you wave them over the tops of the buns. (Remember to wear latex gloves.)

Caramel glaze for sticky buns

Caramel glaze is essentially some combination of sugar and fat, cooked until it caramelizes. The trick is catching it just when the sugar melts and lightly caramelizes to a golden amber. Then it will cool to a soft, creamy caramel. If you wait too long and the glaze turns dark brown, it will cool to a hard, crack-your-teeth consistency. Most sticky bun glazes contain other ingredients to influence flavor and texture, such as corn syrup to keep the sugar from crystallizing and flavor extracts or oils, such as vanilla or lemon. This version makes the best sticky bun glaze of any I´ve tried. It was developed by my wife, Susan, for Brother Juniper´s Cafe in Forestville, California.

NOTE: you can substitute the corn syrup for any neutral flavor syrup, like cane syrup or gold syrup.

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature.

2. Cream together for 2 minutes on high speed with the paddle attachment. Add 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1 teaspoon lemon, orange or vanilla extract. Continue to cream for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

3. Use as much of this as you need to cover the bottom of the pan with a 1/4-inch layer. Refrigerate and save any excess for future use; it will keep for months in a sealed container.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Best" Carrot Cake

Look, it's good carrot cake. Moist, thanks to the buttermilk glaze. Tender. Flavorful. The frosting is to. die. for. But the cake itself? Meh. I think my issue with it is that its only spice is cinnamon and, in my ideal carrot cake, there's more going on. It kind of reminds me of an oatmeal cookie, which is fine for oatmeal cookies, but I want a little more out of my carrot cake.

Having said that, I brought it to a pot luck and complete strangers came up to me and raved about it. So ... I don't know. It's not my favorite -- and back to the drawing board!

Best Carrot Cake (Southern Living magazine)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Buttermilk Glaze (see below)
Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)

Grease and flour a 9x13-inch pan and preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat eggs and sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, stirring until blended. Fold in carrots, pineapple, coconut, and pecans.

Pour batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes; cover pan loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, and bake 13 more minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean.

Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over cake; cool completely in pan. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting evenly over cake.

Serves 10-12.

Buttermilk Glaze
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat. Boil, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.

Cream Cheese Frosting
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
11 oz cream cheese, softened (use 8 oz. and 3 oz. packages of cream cheese)
3 cups sifted powdered sugar (or more, to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.
Yield 4 cups

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Not Dead, Just Busy

These recipes are coming, I swear.

Stay tuned!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Do a Kid a Favor....

And clink this link to see Kian's (my stepson) first animated film.

It's extremely violent. Maybe this is how Tarantino got started?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Weekend Cookbook Challenge 20: Anisette Toast from "Entertaining With the Sopranos"

I was so, so happy to find this cookbook. One of the joys in watching The Sopranos was seeing archetypes, words, locations, and even brands that are familiar to me from growing up and living on Long Island and NY. (OK, the Sopranos live in New Jersey, but there's a lot of overlap -- trust me.) And to have a cookbook that reflects that -- too much fun.

It in, Carmella Soprano, the "author" acting as a mob-wife Martha Stewart, advises readers on how to best throw a confirmation party, host a holiday celebration, or throw a get together just for the girls.

Of course, Carmella has her own way of thinking about things. From the chapter, "Small events for Men Only":

Have you ever heard the term "metrosexual"? Me neither, until they were discussing it on The View one day [...] A metrosexual is a man, I guess, who isn't gay but likes some of the finer things in life that women tend to like, like a good facial exfoliant or a color-coordinated buffet table. Well, I'm not talking about those kind of men here.

A few of Carmela's friends and family put in their two cents as well.

Janice Soprano Baccilieri with "Tips on handling rambunctious children":
I apply a mild form of fear, as in "God will punish you if you don't behave at a confirmation party." Another technique: bribe them.

Christopher Moltisanti with "Rules on the Giving of Money":
Always give cash. No checks, IOUs, travel vouchers, gift certificates (very popular these days), or free car wash coupons. Cash. [...] Put it in a plain legal-sized white envelope. Do not put your name on it in florid script, nor include a stupid "To a Cool Grad!" greeting card.

Gabriella Dante on "When Things Go Terribly Wrong":
Worst dinner party ever? Silvio has this cute cousin from Fairfield who's really into breast feeding. Twelve people sitting around a table eating osso bucco and she pulls a breast out of her halter top and stick it in little Bobo's mouth. My dad almost choked. A friend of our daughter Heather snuck down the stairs and took a picture with his cell phone. Then Rocco, the lush, tries to place an order for low fat. Sure, it's natural, but not at my table, thank you very much.

Fortunately, I don't think we have anyone JUST like these characters in the family, but there is a lot of overlap regarding the food.

One of my favorite food memories is running around the corner from my grandmother's (Me-ma) house in Astoria to the La Guli pastry shop to buy treats for dessert. Chocolate Italian ices, seven layer cookies, sfogliatelli, those little sandy cookies sandwiched together with jam and dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkles -- mmm.

But the thing I was told to buy most often was anisette toast, or as they are known in the 21st century, biscotti. They are dry and firm -- I had to dunk them in milk so I wouldn't shred the top of my mouth when I took a bite -- but delicious. (Maybe not something with wide appeal, but they do it for me.)

So I was thrilled to find a recipe for anisette toast in the pages of the Sopranos cookbook. I had to make the recipe twice as I didn't bake the first batch long enough, resulting in a rubbery, not crisp, cookie. I noted the difference in time below.

The result is good -- the flavor is spot on with La Guli's -- but, damn you, texture! They're too crunchy and, unlike La Guli's, I suspect will chip a tooth if you don't dunk them first. (So if anyone has some biscotti tips for me, please pass them along!)

Having said that, I'm glad I got to explore "Entertaining With the Sopranos" and look forward to trying out some more recipes. (Especially the Easter Sweet Bread, which was always found at Mema's table during the holiday.)

Thanks to Sara for hosting!

Anisette Toast

3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 large eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. anise extract

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees F. Butter a 9x13 baking pan.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a large stand mixer, beat the eggs until foamy. Add the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, beating constantly until very light and fluffy. Beat in the anise extract. With a rubber spatula, gradually fold in the flour mixture until just blended.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Bake 20 to 22 mintues or until the top is golden an a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove pan from oven but leave the oven on.

Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then invert it onto a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut the cake lengthwise in half, then cut each half crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Place slices in a single layer on two parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes * or until cookies are toasted and crisp. Transfer to racks to cool.

Store in an airtight container. These keep a long time.

*I baked mine for about 22 minutes total, flipping the cookies and rotating the cookie sheets about halfway through.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This Thing About Lasagna

I have always maintained that, if you are an Italian-American from the NY-metro area (and parts of NJ & Conn, too) that you are either in the mafia or know someone who is. (And, for what it's worth, I fall into the latter category. )

I have a similarly sweeping statement about those of Italian descent and lasagna: the version you grew up with is the best there is.

Sure, you might go to a fantastic restaurant, or eat dinner at a friend's who really knows how to cook, but their lasagna, no matter how delicious, just isn't as good as the one you know.

This is how I feel about my lasagna. Yes, I've had other versions -- really delicious versions! -- but they weren't mine, so they weren't the best.

Ironically, the recipe doesn't come from my Dad's (Italian) side, but my mother's (Irish) side. My mom's aunt by marriage (Aunt Ann, who, um, happened to be German) picked up this recipe from her days cooking in a school cafeteria in Queens, NY. This was during the days when cafeterias actually cooked food as one might at home, though on an admittedly larger scale.

I feel a little sheepish admitting this lasagna's pedigree (Irish? German? CAFETERIA?!?) but, who knows -- maybe Aunt Ann got the recipe came from an Italian woman who worked alongside her. Plus, it's a damn fine lasagna.

In any event, I didn't find out this story until I was in college, and by then my love for it had been long cemented. I hope you enjoy it.


This lasagna always tastes better the next day. You may assemble the lasagna a day ahead with stellar results. Leftovers reheat nicely in the microwave, but I like to eat it cold, too.

16 oz. lasagna noodles
1 lb of ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Approx 37 oz. of marinara sauce (if using jarred sauce, this is typically 1 and 1/3) plus a little more for the baking dish & top of the lasagna
2 lbs of ricotta cheese
8 -12 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F. Cook pasta per package directions, being careful not to overcook. Drain, then place back in the pot adding cold water to stop cooking process and prevent the pasta from sticking together.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large frying pan, brown the ground beef over medium, removing cooked meat with a slotted spoon to a small bowl. Drain all but 1 1/2 TBS of fat from the pan. Add onion, cooking until translucent. Toss in minced garlic and cook briefly. Put meat back in pan, mix well, then add in sauce.

Drain pasta well (I use my index and middle fingers as a squeegee to help get rid of excess water). In the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, spread a bit of the reserved marinara sauce, then lay down the first layer of lasagna, overlapping the edges. Add a layer of the meat sauce (about 1/3), spreading well to cover the noodles. Add the ricotta (again 1/3 of the total) dropped from a tablespoon in an even but random pattern. Top this off with a scattering of mozzarella cheese (about 1/4 the total amount). Repeat this process two more times, layering the lasagna in alternate directions and tucking in the edges, until complete. Top the final "uncovered" layer with lasagna noodles, and lightly cover with marinara sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until hot in the center. Remove foil, sprinkle with additional mozzarella cheese, and bake another 5 minutes. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Depending on how you slice it, this serves 8-12. (I usually slice it for 12.)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Entertaining With the Sopranos

SCORE!!! I stepped into my department's conference room this morning to find a pile of books free-for-the-taking boxed up on the floor. I poked around and YES! There it was....

Entertaining with the Sopranos. Do you know how long I've wanted this book? Do you know how big a Sopranos fan I am? (Do you know how cheap I am that I haven't bought the freakin' thing before?)

But there it was, staring me in the face, completely free. (Perfect cover art, too.) Ahhhh. I am so, so happy.

And now I know exactly what book I'm using for the next WCC.

Garlicky Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Click image for source.

This is just so good. But when you combine fresh tomatoes and basil with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and Parmesan, it's hard to imagine something bad! (Looking forward to tonight's leftovers...)

One thing though: I think12 oz of pasta (as the original recipe calls for) overwhelms the sauce. You may want to experiment, but I guesstimate 8 oz. of pasta to be just right -- play with the proportions, however, to suit your taste.

Garlicky Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil
8 oz uncooked pasta (see note, above)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups chopped plum tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and keep warm.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add chopped tomatoes; cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Add pasta, basil, cheese, salt, and pepper, tossing gently to combine.

Serves 3-4.