It’s September and I’m savoring every tomato, every green bean, ear of corn, every blackberry, every sunset. If I can capture late summer on a plate, prepared quickly, I’m a happy camper. Tomatoes, basil, zucchini, garlic, Parm and pasta fit the bill.
Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Zukes
Make it heartier by adding nibs of fresh Mozarella or stirring Ricotta cheese into hot pasta. This is Fast Food From Home and enough for 3 or 4 servings. Use more of everything for a bigger batch.
Ingredients: A lot of leeway here. 4 C fresh tomatoes, quartered or halved depending on size/ 3 cloves of garlic, peeled/ 1/2 C or more fresh basil/ 2 smallish or 1 medium zucchini chopped into approximate 1/2″ cubes/ 3 T olive oil/ Pasta of choice/ Parmesan cheese to taste/ Ricotto or Mozarella cheese optional.
Directions: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for cooking the pasta/ Meanwhile, place whole cloves of peeled garlic in the olive oil and cook on low-medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes/ Keep an eye on these, keep the heat low and turn them occasionally. When they are lightly golden and softened remove garlic from the pan and save/ Add zucchini to garlic infused oil, cook and stir occasionally for 2 minutes, then add tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes on medium-high heat/ Season to taste/ Turn off heat, stir in torn bits of basil and add thinly sliced toasted garlic to the mix/ Grate a cup or so of Parmesan cheese/ When water boils – any time during this process – add pasta and cook until al dente, usually 10 – 14 minutes (much less time with fresh pasta)/ While piping hot you can stir several tablespoons of room temperature Ricotta cheese into the pasta (optional), and place on individual serving dishes/ Top each serving with tomato/zucchini mixture, including any accumulated juice, a quick drizzle of olive oil, a little more basil and then plenty of Parmesan cheese.
Another version: follow these same directions, but don’t cook the tomatoes. When zucchini is sauteed, remove from heat, add uncooked tomatoes, thinly sliced toasted garlic and basil. Toss with hot pasta, cheese . . . same as above. Or, as Debora mentioned in her comment, go raw all the way. Chop up all of these ingredients, season, sprinkle with a little wine or balsamic vinegar, let it sit for just a bit and toss with cooked pasta. Even fresher, even easier.
If it’s not yet raining, take your plate and sit anywhere outside, take it to the park or the beach. It’s still good at room temp.
Summer may be on the wane, but this is a luscious finish. Speaking of finish and luscious: fresh peaches and Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream for dessert.