Tomato season is almost over. There are still a few heirlooms out there (like the Cherokee Purple tomatoes pictured here) and the flavor is so good that you want to do something really special with them. How about making a family dinner using pasta as a base? Pasta is always a favorite, and by adding fresh tomatoes you’ve got something really special. Enjoy the end of summer. Hopefully we’ll get a little cooler around here.
Fresh Tomatoes with Pasta
1 (16-ounce) package angel hair or thin spaghetti pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
3 cups chopped tomatoes*
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves cut into thin strips
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Chop tomatoes and set aside in a colander or strainer over a bowl until pasta is ready. Cook pasta according to package directions (be sure to add salt to pasta water). While pasta is cooking, heat a skillet to medium. Add the olive oil, then the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for just a minute or until the garlic and red pepper is infused with the oil. Remove from heat.
Drain the pasta, and transfer to a large bowl. Add the olive oil mixture, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper to taste and toss. This is where I put it all on a big platter and finish it with grated cheese. Serve immediately.
*Note: Add more or less tomatoes to taste. If you have leftover pasta make it a cold salad by adding bottled Italian dressing or Ranch dressing to the pasta.
Avid gardeners who know how to get their hands dirty tend the beautiful gardens featured in this article. Special thanks to Betty Norris & Laura Lander, Publicity Co-Chairs from the Cape Fear Garden Club, for the tour of many wonderful gardens during the Azalea Festival Garden Tour in Wilmington, North Carolina. Read more...