Strozzapreti w/Brie and Tomatoes

August 22, 2010

Strozzapreti (Priest choker in Italian) is an elongated, hand rolled pasta. One of the legends created to explain the origin of the “Priest choker” name goes back to the tradition of women from Romagna (south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna) preparing this type of hand rolled pasta for the local priests, while the husbands, evidently opposed to the influence of the church/clergy in political affairs, wished that the  priests would choke while  stuffing themselves with the pasta.

I had never seen the pasta before. Chef Terese used Montebello Organic Strozzapreti, but any tubular pasta would be fine. Penne or Fusilli would work great for the Strozzapreti with Brie, Tomatoes and Basil recipe.

The Ingredients:
1 lb. Good Quality Pasta – Any tube shape will work
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Small Garlic Cloves – put through a press
2 Cups of Assorted Color Heirloom Tomatoes – Chef Terese used Purple Calabash, Aunt Ruby’s German Green and Persimmon
8 ounces Brie cheese – cut into small chunks  – Chef Terese used the good/expensive stuff – if you aren’t used to buying the good stuff, it has a more robust flavor. You could substitute with a mild Brie or use goat cheese instead.
A handful of fresh basil leaves
Parmesan Cheese  – sprinkled on top
Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper to taste

Bring 4-5 quarts of salted water to a boil. Drop in the pasta and cooked to desired doneness and drain. Do not rinse your pasta people!

Place the hot pasta into a large bowl. Toss the cubes of Brie into the pasta first and mix. Then add the tomatoes, basil, olive oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. You may need more olive oil, totally up to you. Add some Parmesan to the bowl before serving.

This dish can be served multiple ways. Hot, cold or at room temperature – it really doesn’t matter. Chef Teresa suggested it as a great potluck dish. I have to say, it was not one of my favorites of the evening, but I did enjoy it. I obviously buy cheap Brie – because it’s more mellow than what she used. The Brie she used was more than $20 and had a very distinct “stink” – hah! I’m definitely going to give this dish a try with a more mellow Brie or I’ll try the goat cheese. Most people at the table felt the same way. Sometimes fancy isn’t the way to go if your palate isn’t used to it.

All that aside, I was excited to learn the origin of a new pasta (to me), and I think I can use this recipe as a base to create many others.

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