Sunday, September 25, 2011

Summer Pasta (modified from

I so love this recipe, and so does the family.  Quick, simple, all veggie. A no-cook tomato sauce.  What's not to love? I modified it a bit from the original, making it yet another way to use fresh basil in the summer.  It seems so simple, but it is so amazingly good. 

  • 2 ½ pounds of the ripest tomatoes you can find (a mix of varieties is really nice)
  • 2 loose handfuls of tender young spinach and basil (about 2 cups, but whatever)
  • ¼ cup shaved vidalia onion, as thin as you can cut it
  • 1 pound spaghetti or linguine
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red wine vinegar, to taste 
  • Parmigiano cheese, to taste
  • 1 pkg of fresh mozzarella
  1. Boil a gallon of water in a large pot, and make it taste salty (not unpleasantly salty, but distinctly salty). When the water comes to a full rolling boil, add the pasta and stir.
  2. While the water is heating, cut half of the tomatoes into roughly ½-inch chunks and put in a large salad bowl. Coarsely chop the rest, and don't forget to tip the cutting board to get all the juice in the bowl too.
  3. Season the tomatoes generously with salt and pepper, and pour in a few glugs of olive oil. Taste them. Hey, save some for the pasta! If they're sweet and delicious but could use a little tartness, give them a little lick of vinegar.
  4. Lay basil and spinach and then onion on top of the tomatoes, spreading out the onions so they're as close to lying in one layer as possible. Now wait for your pasta to finish cooking. You can't steal any more tastes of the tomato, because the layering is important -- the heat from the pasta that you'll dump on top will wilt the greens and just barely cook the onions, mellowing them out. Right about now is when I start really failing at the art of anticipation and scream obscenities at the pasta to finish cooking.
  5. When the pasta is finally done, al dente, drain it well in a colander and immediately dump it in the bowl, spreading it out so it covers the vegetables evenly. Bite your lip and let it sit undisturbed for five whole minutes and try to distract yourself by shaving Parmigiano on top. Mix it together well -- really stir it up to stretch the melting cheese and coat the pasta in juice and oil. Add bits of the fresh mozzarella.  Give it a taste, adjust with salt, pepper, vinegar, or olive oil if you'd like more richness, and serve immediately.
Modified from

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