Burrata Cheese with Arugula-Walnut Pesto, Roasted Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, and Balsamic Reduction

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Last month, I vacationed with Eric and my family at Pawley’s Island in South Carolina. It was a wonderfully relaxing week off from grad school and I ate some spectacular food while we were there.  One of the true food gems down there is a little unassuming restaurant called Perrones. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but I’m here to say it is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to in my life. Everything from the atmosphere to the cocktails to the food was phenomenal. Every single thing I tasted at this place was good.  It was so good that after we had dinner the first time there, we cancelled our dinner plans for the following night and ended up eating there 2 nights in a row. THAT’S HOW GOOD THIS PLACE IS. No joke.

Both nights we ate there, Eric and I could not decide what to eat because literally everything on the menu sounded so spectacular. So, we settled for sharing a number of small plates each night so we could maximize the number of menu items we could taste. One of their specials was a burrata cheese appetizer with arugula-walnut pesto, olives, roasted tomatoes, and balsamic reduction. As you may have already guessed, that is exactly what I am sharing today! That dish was so unbelievably good that I just had to recreate it at home. Using my memory and taste buds as a guide, I think my dish comes pretty darn close to what I had that night at Perrones (and Eric agrees)!

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A few weeks after the beach, I came home and made this dish for my parents for lunch with some fresh crusty bread from the farmer’s market and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. In a word: perfection.  This flavor combination gives you everything you could want on one plate: the creaminess from the burrata, the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes and balsamic reduction, the pepperiness from the arugula pesto, and the salty bite from the Kalamata olives. My favorite way to eat it is to get a little bit of everything and smear it over the bread.

I love going to a great restaurant and figuring out how I can bring those flavors into my own home. This dish is one way that I can preserve a memory from that trip to the beach and continue to relive it long after it has passed.

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Burrata cheese with arugula-walnut pesto, roasted tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and balsamic reduction

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons of good quality olive oil, divided

4 slices of a good, crusty farmer’s bread

4 balls of burrata cheese

¾ cup of Kalamata olives

 

For the arugula-walnut pesto—

1 cup arugula

8 fresh basil leaves

2 heaping tablespoons of toasted walnuts

1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half

½ cup good quality olive oil

¼ cup freshly  grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For the roasted tomatoes—

1 lb cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tsp sugar

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. First, make your roasted tomatoes. Place the tomatoes (cut side up) and minced garlic on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over sugar, salt, and pepper and stir everything around to ensure that it is all nicely coated. Roast for 25 minutes.
  3. When the tomatoes are finished, reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Place the slices of bread on a cookie sheet and drizzle the slices with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Next, make your pesto. Combine the toasted walnuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the arugula and basil and continue to pulse until all ingredients are combined.
  5. With the motor of the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the 1/2 cup of olive oil until nicely combined.
  6. Remove pesto from the food processor and place into a small bowl. Fold in the Parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  7. Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and then turn down the heat to medium low. Simmer the vinegar for around 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Your balsamic should be thick and luscious at this point.
  8. To plate everything, place the burrata cheese in the center of the plate. Surround the cheese with the pesto, roasted tomatoes, and olives. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the balsamic reduction over the entire plate. Serve with the toasted bread and enjoy!

 

 

 

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