Tomato Basil and Balsamic Pasta

In my earlier post I whined..ya I whine when I’m stressed about how I had alot of school work to get done, but instantly felt better when I realized my salvation was with me all along.  I hope you didn’t think I was going to say take-out? nah.. Well let me introduce you to Chuls, she’s my 10yr old daughter and guess what? She steps in when mommy is losing her mind and I do lose my mind at least once a week. Let me give ya some background first- when she was 8yrs old I decided to begin introducing what I thought were “life skills.” I wanted her to leave for college and be prepared so, we started with baby steps- clean your room, pick up your laundry, wipe down the dinner table- well she did such a great job and was so excited abut her little accomplishments – aren’t all 8yrs old though?  I began adding different skills I thought could help — how to properly wash her laundry , what to do in an emergency, simple cpr skills, basic kitchen skills- since she already knew how to chop and dice I walked her through scrambled eggs – to my surprise she loved it..she wanted to learn more. I was thrilled so, next was pancakes, quesadillas, pies, cookies and soon she began looking through my cookbooks and ripping out recipes from magazines she wanted to attempt.  One morning after we had been at this for a year hubby and I woke up to a complete breakfast she had prepared completely  alone. I was floored!!

This is still one of my  proudest mommy moments, not simply because she had made breakfast (which was nice. don’t get me wrong), but I knew at that moment when she left  home she would be able to feed herself and she understood the importance of preparing  healthy dinners. Since that moment she has excelled farther than I ever was at her age, (I did not really really began cooking until I had married). So once a week we are all treated to her dinners which are always such a pleasure. With this semester coming to an end quickly, while the work continues to pile up–I turn to my secret weapon, my first born, my little domestic goddess. Shall we meet her? First off don’t think there is something wrong with your monitor–this post will be entirely pink highlighted..why? because Chuls loves pink-hot pink and since she is sharing her recipe- she calls the shots.


Chuls loves Nigella-reads all her cookbooks, still dvr’s her shows and signed up to recieve her newsletter (thanks chuls). She is also a avid blog reader…chances are if you are reading this and have left a comment she has visited your blog and more than likely added your link to her phone, yup when we run errands and travel she spends her time reading blogs on her phone and browsing her favorite cooking mags–which at the moment are Cooking Light, Food Network magazine and Texas Monthly.  Chuls also loves her Ipod- her hot pink Ipod, her current fav is Joan Jett.  She is also addicted to Percy Jackson, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and American Girls.  She loves her older cousin Andrea with such devotion – Ihope they stay close forever. She loves carnivals, drive inns, and great pizza.

 Chuls also loves Jamie Oliver so, when she ran across this recipe in a magazine, she knew this would be a great quick dinner. Tomato, basil, and balsamic pasta. A quick sauce with fresh basil and a sprinkle of parm added with chuls’s favorite pasta hot pink bow-ties, yup I don’t know how but, she found hot-pink pasta at a specialty store were we stopped to get coffee. She was so excited.  Let’s eat shall we? Enjoy!!



Tomato, Basil, And Balsamic Pasta

Jamie Oliver

Nick Jr Magazine

March 2006

serves 4

3 ounces balsamic vinegar

2 cups plum tomatoes with juice (from a 28 ounce can)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Extra virgin olive oil

1 handful (about 1/3 cup) fresh basil leaves

1 pound dry pasta

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. place vinegar in a pan over low heat for 5 minutes. It will reduce and become slightly thicker and sweeter. Meanwhile, boil lightly salted water for pasta.

2. Add the tomatoes to reduced vinegar and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Simmer sauce 10 minutes, then add about 1 tbsp of olive oil and most of the basil, reserving a few for garnish. Remove pan from heat and cool slightly, then carefully puree the sauce in a blender. Pour back into pan to keep warm.

3. Cook pasta according to the pkg directions. Drain, then add it to the pan of sauce. Add half of the parm. Stir well until all the pasta is coated in sauce. Serve with remaining basil leaves torn over the top and sprinkled with remaining parm.




  1. says

    Oh! Bonnie you are so lucky… Chuls is a great kid. So I’m guessing she will be chef Chuls in the future. It sounds good right?

  2. says

    awww…. Chuls is just darling!!! Loving the baddass shades and Nigella book. Nigella is one of my cook crushes… and loving the bow-tie pasta!!!

    Trying to remember if my sailor-swearing tendencies are on my blog… I think not. Will have to be extra careful… tee hee.

  3. says

    Go Chuls! As a mom I’m so proud! Your dish looks incredible! My little girl is seven and learning to cook. We call her the little suis chef. She loves to make desserts and appetizers. I’ll have to show her your handy-work!

  4. says

    Beautiful post! Chuls you made a delicious looking pasta. Thanks for sharing it with us :)

    Sweetlife, when I am lucky enough to be a mom, I hope I will be as good at as you are. It’s amazing that Chuls is so keen to learn and try new things.

  5. says

    So nice to meet your impressive Chuls! I have Diary of a Wimpy Kid and a 10 year old in my house–laundry and cooking are definitely not on his radar. Although he’s a great sport about eating all my creations. Sounds like you both are having wonderful time–and the pasta meal is a perfect mid-week dish.

  6. says

    Your daughter is only 10 and she is already an expert in the kitchen! Wow, I am so amazed with her skills and also with you for starting her so young. Keep it up.

  7. says

    GO MOM and daughter. The unbeatable amazing team of sassy little women. I love it. I think the only thing I was doing at the innocent, young age of 8 was play around in dirt, pick on my sister and eat candy. HA!

    Oh how times have changed!

  8. says

    sounds like your daughter has a great start to cooking…….I’m glad I found your site, and I look forward to reading more from you
    all the best

  9. says

    Hi Chuls! That pasta certainly looks delicious, and the color is fabulous! I have a pink iPod, too, but it’s an old iPod mini :)

    sweetlife, you should be very proud of your first born!

  10. says

    Aiyah, Chuls, she is awesome. Sweetlife, you are awesome too for teaching her “life skills” so early one–she’s going to become such a great independent person. I’m discovering food late in life as well (currently in university, when I have to sustain myself on my own), and it’s actually quite fun to be thrown in the fire, eh?

    This pasta look yum.

  11. says

    Wow…I’m impressed! Pretty sophisticated for a 10 year old with vinegar reduction and all. Sounds like a wonderful pasta. Hi Chuls! (if you are reading :) )

  12. says

    Chuls sounds like a very clever, smart girl. And you, well, a good Mom. I wish my parents encouraged me to read and feel capable when I was that age. They tried their best though, so I can’t be too upset.
    Hope you both have a enchanting day with no losing it (smile)…

  13. says

    Wow! Where is my secret weapon when I need one? I also didn’t really start cooking for myself until I was engaged. I lived off of simple things like baked potatoes and salad. Once I started cooking though, I realized it’s so fun to experiment and I’m thrilled to hear you started Chuls off young!! I hope to do that someday with my own!! :)

  14. says

    The first time I attempted to cook for my mom was on mother’s day and I tipped the hot pan of chicken while pulling it out of the oven. I spilled hot chicken drippings on my arm and suffered from a blistering burn for the next few weeks. She ended up finishing the meal that day. I was 14 then… needless to say, I am VERY impressed that Chuls is such an avid cook at the fresh age of 10! Way to go!

  15. says

    Dear Bonnie – Take it from someone who was lucky to have parents who encouraged her cooking passions young, Chuls will Thank You one day for being such a supportive mother.

    It is wonderful to see you nurture this talent in your daughter. Thank you for this wonderful insight in your precious life and that of your lovely daughter.

    The pasta is wonderful. The post is even better!

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  16. says

    You both should be proud of yourself. What a great child! What a great Mom! The pasta looks wonderful. Tell Chuls that I love hot pink as well. I hope you both are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  17. says

    Oh, wow – you’ve got yourself a GREAT secret weapon! What an amazing daughter you have – you should certainly be VERY proud. And the recipe looks amazing! Definitely right up my alley.
    By the way – I received your gifts today, and I am absolutely FLOORED by your graciousness. I cannot thank you ENOUGH!! You did way too much!! I definitely got a taste of Texas, though – and can’t wait to put everything to use!! I definitely see where your daughter gets her kind-hearted generosity from…her momma!!
    Have yourself a great night – don’t let coursework stress you out too much. Just reember – the end’s in sight!!

  18. says

    Good for Chuls! The earlier our kids learn to cook and eat better foods, the healthier they will be. Besides that, it’s nice to give mom a break once in a while! 😉

  19. says

    A great go-to dinner for rushed nights! I make something very similar, but tend to throw in lots of random veggies to bulk it up a bit.

  20. rafaelamtz says

    WELL WELL WELL!!!! If I knew my little niece had that much talent , pack her up and send your secret weapon over here to Kansas. Its looks really good and I bet the worlds biggest critic(Marcella Baby) would even like this dish. awesome job, chuls and love you .

  21. says

    Your daughter sounds adorable! You have definitely trained her well. I could use a secret weapon like her to cook for me when I get super busy with schoolwork.

    That pasta dish looks absolutely fantastic. I am drooling over here just thinking about how good the tomatoes and balsamic must have been.

  22. says

    Hi Chuls! Great to meet you! What a lovely dish you’ve made.

    Totally impressed by the skills of your 10 year old – She knows how to look after herself much more than most people I know! :)

  23. tigerfish says

    OH, at least you have a secret weapon! And she came with something very unique – pink bow-ties, to make a statement 😀


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