Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pasta with Mozzarella, Tomatoes, and Basil @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: I know most of you guys are dying for spring and I don't intend to rub your noses in the Key West weather! But John and I took a wonderful tour of the Key West Botanical Gardens a couple of weeks ago. Here was my favorite plant: it's called the autograph tree, because as you see, if you write your name on a leaf, it shows up. And best of all, I learned when I looked it up that the fruits and flowers are poisonous to humans. Now you KNOW I am going to have to use this in a mystery!

Anyway, all that said, there was also a little market and one man was selling tomatoes and other vegetables, including the pineapple I used in this totally yummy upside-down cake. The tomatoes reminded me of my favorite summer pasta dish--one we eat every week when the tomatoes in the garden are coming in fast and furious. But I've also made this with little grape or cherry tomatoes--it does not depend on perfect summer produce. So if you are yearning for a touch of summer in your winter, try this. (You can almost always find a bunch of fresh basil in the supermarket--in my case, I nursed a pot along on my windowsill.)

2 large tomatoes or the equivalent amount of small ones
1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese
about 8 fresh basil leaves
good quality olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Kalamata olives if you like them, sliced

Chop the tomatoes into bite size pieces. Chop the basil. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil along with salt and pepper to taste, and olives if you like them. You can let this sit at room temperature for an hour or two to marinate.

Close to serving time, cut the cheese into bite-size chunks and stir these into the vegetables.  

Serve this over the pasta of your choice (I love the real Italian stuff from Eataly.)

 And think spring--because it IS coming!
Duval Street fun

And spring in Key West means spring break and St. Patrick's Day...
Tonka with admirers on Mallory Square

And if you can't wait, why not read about spring in a Key West food critic mystery?
MURDER WITH GANACHE is in bookstores now. 

And please follow Lucy on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.


  1. How clever! The colors of the dish match the colors of the tulip arrangement.
    Beautiful AND delicious. A great idea for this time of year.

  2. Great books and great food--winner!

  3. Happy St. Patrick's Week, Lucy/Roberta - love all the photos, especially the big green leaves of the "autograph tree" and the wearin' of the green on Duval Street. And you're right about Key West dreamin'. We sure could us some spring green up here! ~ Cleo

    1. It's coming soon Cleo--this last snowstorm was just plain mean...

  4. Great post, Lucy/Roberta! That sun-drenched food made my mouth water. Wish I was there - and of course,love reading about KW in your books.

    Thanks for giving us this sunny boost.


  5. I've never seen an autograph tree. Very interesting, Roberta. Now, ahem, about that cheerful spring message – I woke to snow this morning. Okay, so it melted but it's just over 30 outside! Brrrrr!


    1. that's a mean trick Krista--after the winter you have had! xo

  6. Lucy, how cool. An autograph tree? Poison? Murder with Flavor. Love the recipe. So colorful

    Daryl / Avery

    1. I can't wait to use the autograph tree. Just have to remember...xo