Well, the calendar may be pointing to fall, but the tomatoes, they keep on coming. Tonight we’re going to have a summer favorite, Summer Spaghetti, also known in our house as Jess’ mom’s summer pasta. Or just tomato-basil pasta.
Now, I’m not sure that I make it just like anyone in Jess’s family—in fact I don’t even make it the same way twice. So this isn’t really a recipe, but more of a gentle suggestion for turning a popular summer salad into a meal that even kids will eat.
In this case, I have more cherry tomatoes than I know what to do with, so I will take care of most of them by making this. The rest will go into tomato soup, since I don’t have to worry about skinning them. You can use cherry tomatoes or regular for this salad.
Cook a pound of pasta to package directions (despite the name, I rarely use spaghetti–gemelli, rotini and penne are all good shapes to try here).
While the pasta is cooking, chop your tomatoes and basil. How many tomatoes? As many as you have, or as many as you think you’d like to have in this salad. Helpful, eh? Try this. Take the bowl that you’ll be using to serve the pasta, and chop tomatoes until they fill the bottom third or so. You can always add more to make a more favorable pasta/tomato ratio later.
Once the tomatoes are chopped go twice around the bowl with a fruity green olive oil and once around the bowl with the best balsamic vinegar you can spring for. I sometimes add a little garlic to pep things up, too. Then stack a pile of fresh basil leaves together, roll them up and cut them into ribbons, and mix them in. Repeat as necessary for your basil preferences. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste, and wait for the pasta to cook and the tomato mixture to get juicy.
Once cooked, drain the pasta, cool it slightly and add it to the tomato-basil dressing. If you’ve got any interesting cheeses, or even just plain old supermarket mozzerella, dice it up and sprinkle it in.
Voila! Summer Spaghetti.
Yum. Summer isn’t quite over yet.
Thanks to all you Food Friday posters who are going strong, even when I don’t post on Fridays, I love it! Keep them coming!
Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.