Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

While in Kansas, it seemed like every time we turned around someone was trying to feed us. No light food either, there was nary a salad in sight. In one day we had a cheesy potato breakfast casserole with bacon, ribs with potato salad and beans for lunch, and supreme pizza for dinner (then beer, lots of beer). Now I'm not saying it wasn't good (the ribs were some of the best I've had) there was just so darn much of it.

Since I've been home I've been craving really light food (and spicy Asian-style food, but that's another story). Today I decided to make myself a light, but indulgent lunch. And, I decided my tomato was finally ready.

Here's the ingredients (for one person):

A couple handfuls of campanelle pasta (I decided on this shape because I thought it would hold the diced tomatoes nicely)
1 Roma tomato
several leaves of basil (these are from my garden, too)
1 clove of garlic, mashed to a paste
olive oil (the good stuff)
a bit of really good Parmigiano-Regianno cheese

I started by cooking the pasta in well-salted water. While this cooked, I diced the tomato (into 1/4" dice), julienned the basil and mashed the garlic. If you've never done this, here's how.

Start by chopping the garlic.

Sprinkle it with kosher salt.

With the knife almost parallel to the cutting board, mash the salt and garlic together.

Keep going until you get a paste.

Once the pasta was cooked through, I drained it, returned it to the pan and added the garlic paste right away (just to take the edge off of it). I added a generous drizzle of olive oil, the diced tomatoes and the basil. The heat of the pasta warmed the tomato and made a nice light sauce. I topped the dish with a bit of cheese and a sprinkle of sea salt.

So good, and exactly what I had been craving. Light and summery and so flavorful. It was so exciting to take my first harvest from my garden and turn it into something so delicious.

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