Tomatoes are copious this time of year. Celebrate them by making a quick fresh tomato sauce that preserves their integrity (yeah, integrity!) rather than cooking the hell out of them and making a regular sauce. This sauce is super fast to make because you don’t want to cook the tomatoes too long–just soften and heat them through.
Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil and Mozzarella
1/2 box spaghetti
5-6 small tomatoes or 2-3 large (heirlooms would be great; I used yellow San Marzanos)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-3/4 c. basil, cut in chiffonade
Fresh mozzarella (I used Ciliegine, the cherry tomato sized mozzarella balls)
1) Boil salted water for pasta. When water is boiling, add pasta and cook to directions on package.
2) Slice tomatoes into half moon shapes.
3) When the pasta has about 5 minutes left to cook, heat 2-3 tbsp. olive oil in a sauté pan. Add garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, then add tomatoes and basil with pinch of salt. Add fresh pepper to taste.
4) Reserve a 3-4 tbsp of the pasta water before draining pasta to add to sauce. Drain pasta.
5) When tomatoes have begun to soften, add pasta water, then add pasta and toss. Add more salt and pepper to taste, as desired.
6) Serve topped with fresh cheese.
Try these variations for fun:
– Add onion and zucchini (you’ll need to cook the zucchini for a while before adding the tomatoes).
– Add a splash of white wine.
– Use rosemary or oregano instead of basil. Or use a combination of the three!
– Add diced eggplant you’ll need to cook the eggplant for a while before adding the tomatoes).
– Top with tofu or yuba instead of cheese.
– Try fresh ricotta or burrata.
– Toss in fresh arugula and top with shaved parmesan cheese.