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.
By Dan Heims, president of Terra Nova Nurseries
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries
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