Saturday, August 9, 2014

Summertime Heirloom Tomato Sauce Spaghetti

Last summer, I must have made this pasta at least 10 times. I haven't made it as often this summer because I haven't been able to find as many beautiful heirloom tomatoes at the farmers' markets this year. The recipe is basically just a simple fresh tomato sauce made with heirloom tomatoes and plenty of roasted garlic and fresh basil, but something about the combination just makes it better than your typical tomato sauce. The recipe is one I came up with accidentally as I had all the ingredients on hand and was aiming to make a cooked version of Pasta Alla Checca. While I like the flavors in Alla Checca, most people find the garlic too strong when it's not cooked.

Although I'm providing a recipe for this, you really don't need one. This is just what I like to do. This pasta is a family favorite and tastes good hot or cold. It's surprisingly delicious for something so simple as long as you get the best ingredients you can find. I like to use a mix of heirloom tomatoes if I can get them, some orange-red striped ones, purplish red ones, green ones, yellow ones, etc. They all taste a bit different, so I think it's best when they're mixed. I like to let my tomatoes ripen until they're quite soft and the skins peel off really easily.
Bring this to your next summer gathering, potluck, or serve it as a side for your next meal.

Heirloom Tomato Sauce Spaghetti

1 pound spaghetti or other long pasta
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cups peeled, diced heirloom tomatoes and juices
3 tsp chopped confit garlic
Large handful of fresh basil, torn or roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, to taste

Mix the diced heirloom tomatoes, olive oil, and some salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Let sit for an hour or longer to soften. If you don't have time to do this, just cook the tomatoes a little longer later.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season generously with salt. Add the pasta and cook until it's very al dente as it will continue to cook in the sauce later.

To make the sauce, heat up a few tbsp. of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 20 seconds, depending on the doneness of the garlic you're using. Add the marinated tomatoes and sauté for a minute or two. Add the pasta and cook for another three minutes so the pasta absorbs the tomato juices. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Turn off the heat and add in the basil and grated cheese. Serve warm or at room temp.

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