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Simple Fresh Tomato Pasta

August 27, 2009

Simple Fresh Tomato Pasta

This summer is flying by, so quickly it’s kind of nerve-wracking. And it has been an extremely full one, what with moving across country, starting a new job, being visited by friends, traveling for work, and spending a glorious week on Puget Sound with a group of some of my favorite people. I have been neglecting this blog, and I have been neglecting my new garden. The lawn is definitely overgrown, but at least it’s still alive. And I’m learning that there is truth in the statement that things in Walla Walla pretty much grow themselves: my tomatoes are thriving through no work of my own.

So what do you do with tons of cherry tomatoes? You make very simple and summery pasta dishes.

This is so simple, in fact, that I have been waffling about putting it up here, but I think it’s such a great base for experimentation that I decided to go ahead and do it. I’ve used this recipe twice in the last week, once just like this, and once with a little eggplant and green onion instead of basil.

And seriously, I never knew how good tomatoes could be until I had them right straight off the vine.

Tomatoes from my garden

I believe these are Sweet 100s. All I really know is that my co-worker got them from another co-worker when she moved here, and these were rogue tomato plants that she let go wild and eventually uprooted and gave to me. They are growing along quite well in the backyard with my basil and my lawn all the weeds.

Simple Fresh Tomato Pasta
This makes enough for one hungry person, so just multiply the recipe as needed.

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • about 2 T. chopped white onion (I just chop a thick chunk off of an onion that I keep in the refrigerator)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced (I use my garlic press when I’m feeling lazy)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • a few tablespoons of chopped kalamata olives
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 2 or 3 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
  • about 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

This recipe is flexible: Use what you like and what you have on hand. Use more onion if you like it, or use shallots, or leave them out altogether. Throw in some mushrooms or zucchini if you have it. Do whatever you want. It’s summer, and this sauce is designed to take advantage of whatever happens to be growing in your neck of the woods right this minute.

Heat the olive oil and a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions for about a minute, and then add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds or so. I’ve learned with my electric stove that it helps if I take the skillet off the burner when I add the garlic in, and only put it back when I add the next ingredients.

Simple Fresh Tomato Pasta

Which would be tomatoes. Stir them in with the garlic and onion, and let it all cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes will start to break apart and become saucy, at which point you can stir in everything else. Let it all cook down for another 3 or 4 minutes. Then stir in cooked pasta and serve. Voila, 15 minute dinner.

I know this is kind of a lame return to the blog after I very, very silent summer. Most of the meals I’ve been cooking this summer are just like this: fresh vegetables, cooked quickly and simply, served with pasta. Which is great for the eating, but less exciting for the sharing. I’m trying to psych myself up to start up that grill again, and I do have some fabulous recipes to share from our week in Puget Sound. I would promise to be back soon with all that good stuff, but I seem to be breaking those kinds of promises a lot lately, so I’m not going to do that.

I am going to encourage you to buy some tomatoes from your farmer’s market as soon as you can, and to cook them simply, just like this. And if you can, I will encourage you to grow them yourselves. I realize home tomato growing is being blamed for the Northeast’s tomato blight problem, so my encouragement might not be looked on kindly. But I will encourage nonetheless.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Christina permalink
    August 27, 2009 7:18 pm

    I do this all the time — delicious. If you want to be even lazier? I always keep cleaned and chopped leek in my freezer, and frequently use that in place of onion. Different flavour, equally delicious.

    Also, if you get really good kalamata olives in tins that are packed with olive oil (not brine), then *that* oil (and rather more than you put in…) just makes this dish out of this world. I did this once (also added some frozen spinach while the leek was cooking, and then some pine nuts at the end) when I was too tired to really “cook”, and it ended up being the best pasta dish I had made all summer. Anyway, I totally get why you’d put this up!!

  2. August 31, 2009 1:19 pm

    Beautiful photos! I love simple pasta dishes like this – they are pretty much a staple of my summer repertoire.

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