Northern Kentucky reader Jeffrey W. shared his family’s special pasta using fresh garden tomatoes and basil. Here’s Jeffrey’s story. I can’t wait to make this!
The original recipe called for skinning and draining the tomatoes, but we eventually abandoned those steps as unnecessary. The appeal of this recipe is its simplicity and purity, with the fresh flavors of uncooked, vine-ripened tomatoes, sweet basil, and parsley blending with the piquant olive oil/vinegar/lemon juice dressing. It is the essence of summer in a dish, and each year we await impatiently the maturation of our own tomato and basil plants to make the first batch and then regret the last time we make the dish in the autumn when those plants finally fail. Its other appeal is how easy it is to put the ingredients together, with a minimum of cooking – very welcome on hot Ohio River Valley summer nights.
All the ingredient quantities are highly approximate because this recipe is infinitely variable depending on the cook’s preference for its component ingredients (e.g. garlic lovers will want to increase the garlic quantity accordingly). But here is the basic recipe for two. We prefer using gemelli pasta, but any kind of pasta works just fine. It makes a fine vegetarian entrée or an appealing side for grilled chicken; crusty bread goes well with it.
¼ cup olive oil 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 T balsamic vinegar 1 T fresh lemon juice
12 large fresh sweet basil leaves, chopped fresh parsley to taste, chopped
4 medium-sized or 3 large tomatoes, diced 1 T sugar
salt and pepper grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
Cooked pasta for two
While water for pasta comes to a boil, mix olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and lemon juice in a medium-sized bowl. Chop the basil and parsley together and add to olive oil mixture. Chop the tomatoes and add them (skin, seeds, and pulp all together) to the olive oil mixture. Season with sugar, salt and pepper. Let stand while boiling the pasta, stirring occasionally to mix the flavors.
When pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot. Strain a couple of tablespoons of the liquid out of the bowl with the olive oil/tomato mixture and stir swiftly into the pasta. Then serve the pasta on plates, scattering Parmesan cheese on the warm pasta. Pause to let cheese warm and then spoon the olive oil/tomato sauce over the pasta.
LISA’S TOMATO BASIL SKEWERS
Lisa, another Northern Kentucky reader, shares this yummy recipe:
Simply skewer cherry tomatoes, basil and ½ of a mozzarella ball on a toothpick and sprinkle with salt, pepper and a balsamic glaze. Perfect summertime appetizer