DEAR SOS: I loved the chopped tomato and basil salad appetizer brought to the table at Pane Caldo, Los Angeles. Do you think the restaurant would share the recipe?
DEAR BETTY: Owner Alberto Liani sent us the Pane Caldo recipe. The diced tomato salad is served by the spoonful over warm toast to eat open-faced. You can sop up the juices at the bottom of the bowl with extra toast when the salad is gone.
PANE CALDO BISTROT CHECCA APPETIZER
1 pound ripe tomatoes, finely diced
3 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
24 (2-inch diameter) slices French baguette or Italian bread, toasted
Combine tomatoes and basil in bowl. Toss lightly. Add olive oil and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss just until tomatoes are evenly coated with oil. Cover and set aside 7 to 10 minutes. Serve over toast slices. Makes about 2 cups filling or 24 appetizers.
DEAR SOS: I very much enjoy the Spaghetti Factory in Fullerton. It serves a spaghetti dish with browned butter and mizithra cheese I have not seen on menus elsewhere. I'd appreciate the recipe.
DEAR SHEILA: We love the recipe, too. You can use just the mizithra , a Greek cheese similar to ricotta, or combine it with other Greek cheeses, such as kaseri and caciocavallo , or even Italian cheeses, such as Romano, Parmesan and ricotta.
SPAGHETTI FACTORY SPAGHETTI MIZITHRA
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 pound dry ricotta cheese, kaseri or caciocavallo, grated
1/4 pound Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Cook spaghetti until tender but firm to bite. Drain. Melt butter in large skillet until butter turns brown in color. Sprinkle with mixed cheeses, then drizzle with browned butter. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 6 servings.