If you’re serious about eating from garden plot to plate, this is the dish for you. You can literally make this sauce while sitting at your picnic table, going inside only to cook the pasta. It’s that easy and brings out all the summery flavors of tomato, basil and garlic in a way that cooked sauce just can’t do.
First you need at least 4 large ripe tomatoes. I got mine from Billy’s last weekend at the University Farmers Market. Billy has a bin with “seconds” most of which are fine if you’re going to use them soon. He grows a very respectable beefstake-type tomato, even for a picky southern girl like me. It is hard to get enough heat here for ripened-on-the-vine tomatoes but Billy’s are as good as any in the northwest. He also has big bunches of basil so be sure to pick up one of those too. He specializes in all the favorite hot weather crops — tomatoes, peppers and eggplant along with luscious strawberries.
Making the rounds at the market, I got the rest of the necessary ingredients for my pasta. Alm Hill Gardens had garlic, not dried yet, mild and fresh-tasting. La Pasta makes many different kinds of pasta. I bought the spinach linguine, simple and yet distinct. Port Madison makes a wonderfully gentle goat cheese adding a creaminess to the sauce. The only ingredient I didn’t find at the market was brie cheese. If I had bought more chevre, I could have done without the brie but a mixture of the two is also nice. La Panzanella is back at the market so you may want to get a loaf of bread to dip in this addictive sauce.
4 ripe tomatoes, cut into cubes
1/2 lb brie cheese, rind removed, torn into pieces
1 round of Port Madison goat cheese, cut in small pieces
2 cups basil leaves, cut into strips
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3/4 – 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper
linguine or another pasta for 4-6 people
freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Combine the tomatoes, brie, goat cheese, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper in a large serving bowl. Let it sit at room temperature for around 2 hours before serving.
Cook the pasta, drain and immediately toss with the tomato sauce. Serve right way with more salt & pepper. Pass a dish of grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.
The heat from the pasta “cooks” the sauce ever so slightly, melting the cheese and creating the perfect dish for a warm summer evening. This recipe was introduced to me many years ago by my dear friend, Peggy. It is from The Silver Palate Cookbook ,one of my old favorites.