Glamping (glam + camping): the pleasures of a crackling campfire, good friends, and open-air slumber glammed up with luxurious comfort, chic decor, and indulgent food!
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This dinner is perfect for your glamping vacation. No hotdogs on sticks or charred burgers for this meal: instead you will enjoy a dish of pasta topped with fresh tomatoes, basil and chicken sausage.
The pasta gets cooked up right over the fire.
The sweet cherry tomatoes emerge tender and juicy from a foil packet, as do slices of garlicky chicken sausage.
Sprinkle a few ribbons of fresh basil over the top, and you have a wonderful light and easy dish that will taste sublime with that wine that you already opened to sip by the fire!
Check the route you’re driving to get to your glamping site – you may be able to swing by a farm stand or market to pick up really fresh, local cherry tomatoes and basil for this pasta.
A quick note about this photo: this dark round stone is my garlic rock, for cracking cloves of garlic to slip off the skins. I’m still hunting my books to confirm, but I believe I got this idea from food writer and NPR contributor Bonny Wolf in her book Talking With My Mouth Full. Shortly after reading about this, I happened on this perfectly round rock at a campground where the beach was covered in shards of slate. I knew immediately that this would be my garlic rock. But enough about rocks…
I chose chicken sausage for this meal to keep things light but of course you can swap in pork or turkey sausage of various flavorings if you’d rather. But the flavors of this spinach and garlic chicken sausage go so nicely with the tomatoes and basil… I really encourage you to give it a try!
The recipe is below. And after dinner when you and your glamping mate are ready for something sweet, get your cast iron skillet ready to make some Glamping-Style Bananas Foster! Check out all of my Glamping Recipe ideas here:
** Looking for Glamping destination ideas? Here are two sites with info for you: Glamping.com and this article at Country Living.com. My friends Mike and Anne over at HoneyTrek are working on a Glamping Guide with Falcon Guides as we speak, and when available I will post the info here!
** Looking for Glamping decor ideas? Come on over to my Pinterest board to see all kinds of ideas for tents, lighting, pillows, and more!
Fireside Pasta With Fresh Tomatoes, Basil & Chicken Sausage
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt divided
- 2 cups or 1 pint fresh cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves (a handful)
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 links fully cooked spinach and garlic chicken sausage (brands I've seen include Bilinski's, Trader Joe's, and Nature's Place)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 ounces thin spaghetti
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Parmesan cheese, grated or in a block to grate over pasta
- Make sure the cooking grate is steady over the hot fire. Fill a cooking pot with about 1-1/2 quarts of water. Add in the tablespoon of salt and place the pot covered over the fire to come to a boil. Be sure there is enough room on the cooking grate for the foil packets of food you are about to prepare.
- While waiting for the water to boil, use the cutting board and sharp knife to slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Set these aside. Stack the basil leaves on top of each other, roll them up from the long side, then slice across the roll to cut the basil into ribbons (chiffonade.) Set the basil aside and mince the clove of garlic. (If you'd rather not mince, you could instead grate the clove of garlic over the pasta once it's cooked.) Finally, slice the chicken sausage into 1-inch thick coins.
Make the foil packets
- Tear off three sheets of aluminum foil. Divide the tomatoes in half and place each pile in the center of a foil sheet. Place the sliced sausages in the center of the third sheet. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over the tomatoes and the sausage. Fold up the foil packets: bring up the two long sides to meet and fold the edges together to make the center seam. Then fold up and press flat each end to make the packet.
- When the water comes to a boil, add in the thin spaghetti gently stirring it with the pasta fork to submerge the pasta completely. Place the foil packets on the cooking grate. Cook the pasta until it's al dente - about 9 minutes. About 5 minutes into this cooking time use tongs to carefully pull open the center of the tomato packets. The liquid inside should be steaming, and venting the packets in the center will allow excess moisture to evaporate and the tomatoes to thicken and caramelize. You can also peek into the packet of chicken sausage to be sure the slices are not browning too quickly (feel free to pull it off the fire if it seems ready.)
- Use the pasta fork to remove the cooked pasta from the boiling water to the heat-proof bowl. Carefully discard the pasta water. Remove the foil packets from the heat as well. Check the sausage: the slices should be heated through and beginning to brown. If not, return the packet to the cooking grate for a few more minutes.
- To the pasta in the bowl add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the minced or grated garlic, and the pepper. Use tongs or a fork to toss and coat the pasta.
- Divide the pasta between two plates or bowls. Divide the sausage over the top of both pastas. Pour the tomatoes over each bowl, one packet for each bowl. Sprinkle the ribbons of basil over the tops. Finish each dish with a shower of grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Notes on this dish:
- There is an equipment list below for this recipe, and you'll probably find that you're bringing many of these items with you on your trip anyway for other food prep - like knives, cutting boards, and a pot. Have a small bottle of dish soap and sponge with you to wash up dishes between meals.
- A camping cooking grate like this one with folding legs will work with metal-ring fire pits or with fire pits set inside cinder blocks or stones. (All are possibilities depending on your campground.) If your site has a grill installed, or if you're bringing a grill or campstove you'll be able to cook on that instead. Check the campground website ahead of time to learn more about the site features.
- You can plan to cook over wood or coals, whichever you prefer. The ideal time to begin cooking over the campfire is when the smoke and larger flames at the start of the fire have died back a little and the wood or coals are hot and glowing. I cooked the pasta and the packets over a hot fire and my times below are based on that. You may need to adjust your cooking time a bit depending on your fire, grill, etc.
- Use heavy duty foil to make the packets.
- Once the pasta is cooked you will need to find a place to discard the cooking water. You may want to scout out this spot in advance so you won't be wandering around with a pan of hot water!
- Though you could bring disposable cups, cutlery, etc., your glamping experience will be more greatly enhanced with real dishes and silverware. Throw in a linen tablecloth and tall candles too. (Fancy!) In addition to elevating mere "camp food" to something glamorous and special, you can high-five yourself for making an environmentally friendly choice.
Equipment to bring:
- Cooking grate with folding legs to fit over campfire (not needed if there is a grill at your site)
- 4 quart cooking pot with cover
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Grater (optional - see below)
- Heavy duty aluminum foil
- Measuring spoons
- A large pasta fork to stir pasta and remove cooked pasta from the water
- Medium sized heat proof bowl
- Plates or pasta bowls