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A bowl of pasta and tomato sauce can be delicious, but in hot weather you may be reluctant to heat your kitchen with long-simmering sauce. So here’s a Roman summer-day recipe that combines pasta and tomatoes with minimal heat.
Gather four blissfully ripe tomatoes that have never seen the inside of a
refrigerator. Find some cheese, such as fresh mozzarella, brie or gorgonzola, that you can cut into small pieces, plus a couple of cloves of garlic that you can dice or put through a press. Also a few garden-fresh basil leaves or, lacking basil, other fresh herbs. (If you grow tomatoes, we suggest you should grow basil, too.) And we assume you have olive oil, salt and pepper at hand.
Cut the tomatoes in half and drain, then chop them a bit, and put them in a bowl and add about a quarter of a cup of olive oil. Next, mix in a half a cup of torn basil leaves (or those other fresh herbs), the diced garlic and sliced cheese. Now cover the bowl and let the flavors mingle for at least two hours at room temperature.
When you’re ready, cook up your pasta. We have in mind some of the shorter pastas – such as small shells or bow ties or spirals – rather than the longer spaghetti or fusilli. Mix the pasta with the room-temperature tomato sauce – just stir and toss, somewhat like a salad. Add some slices of cheese, if you want, such as Romano or Parmigiano. Enjoy the summer day.
This recipe comes from the painter Willie Marlowe. We finicky critics have tasted it. It’s excellent.