Balsamic and Sun-Dried Tomato Conchiglie
Every so often we find a time-saving ingredient that delivers outstanding flavor to a recipe with very little work on our part. This pasta side dish gets its signature flavor from a ready-to-use balsamic reduction that's quickly becoming a new favorite for us. It has a rich, aged balsamic flavor that stands up beautifully to the intensity of the sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil in this recipe. Be sure to see our notes for more information.
- 8 ounces conchiglie rigate (shell pasta)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 ounces julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
- 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons Mandanaro Balsamic Sauce (see notes)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup chiffonade of fresh basil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 2 minutes, then add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, 2 minutes longer.
Stir in the chicken broth, bring the mixture to a simmer, then add the tomato paste and combine until smooth. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are plump and soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the balsamic sauce, season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Cook and drain the pasta according to the package directions, then add it to the sauce. Combine well and allow to cool for 5 minutes before adding the fresh basil. Serve family style.
Makes 4 side dish servings
Mandarano Balsamic Glaze and Sauce
Made in Modena, Italy using a 400-year-old family recipe, Mandarano Balsamic Glaze and Sauce is a top quality balsamic vinegar reduction that's perfect for enhancing a wide variety of foods from pasta to vegetables to filet mignon.
We've often made our own balsamic reductions, and the process, while easy, is somewhat time consuming. It's also not overly economical, because to achieve a balanced flavor that isn't too acidic you need to start with a relatively good quality balsamic.
We found the Mandarano sauce to have that perfect sweet-tart balance of flavor. It also has a rich, syrupy consistency that makes it good for a variety of uses, from glazes to salad dressings, so we'll be keeping it on hand in our kitchen from now on.
Besides using it in this pasta dish, we've also brushed it onto fresh green beans before roasting and made a quick pan sauce for seared pork medallions by adding it to the accumulated juices along with a splash of cream.
Some other ideas we plan to try: drizzle onto homemade pizza, brush onto grilled steaks just before serving, use as a garnish for soups and salads, drizzle onto artisanal cheese, top vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries and basil.