It’s been a great year for tomatoes – they are abundant and at their absolute peak right now. Whether you’ve grown them yourself or you’re getting them at a farm market or a grocery store, now’s the time to be feasting on tomatoes.
Tomatoes are incredibly versatile, of course, and can be used in endless ways. But when food is really fresh, the best ways to use it are often the simplest. Minimal preparation, minimal seasoning, and just let the flavour of the vegetable itself shine through.
That’s where this pasta dish comes in. By the time the water is boiled and the pasta is cooked, everything else is ready – depending on the kind of pasta you cook, you’ve probably even got time to wash the dishes and pour a glass of wine before the pasta is done.
Then it’s just a matter of draining the pasta, tossing everything together, and serving – delicious and oh so easy!
For added variety, saute a thinly sliced zucchini and a clove of garlic in a little oil, and add them to the dish when you add the tomatoes.
3 or 4 good-sized tomatoes, any variety
A handful of fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade (see directions below)
1 cup of grated mozzarella or a similar soft cheese
1 lb pasta, dried or fresh (rotini works well for this dish)
Good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil and add pasta.
While pasta cooks, dice tomatoes.
To cut basil in chiffonade, roll leaves into a cylinder and then dice. The result will be nice little ribbons of basil leaves.
When pasta is cooked, drain and put in a large serving bowl. Add tomatoes, cheese and basil right away and toss it all together. The heat from the pasta will melt the cheese and slightly warm the tomatoes.
Drizzle olive oil on top, add salt and pepper, and serve.
Image by Bob Doran