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This simple Summer Garden Pasta makes the most out of the tomato and basil harvest. With only a few ingredients, this delicious pasta comes together in under an hour. If you have the time, pair it with one of these wonderful focaccia.
When choosing a pasta to use for this Summer Garden Pasta, I like to use a fusilli, but any pasta with ridges or twists will be great. They are both sturdy enough and have loads of nooks and crannies to hold the sauce. You want want to miss even a speck!
I made this dish one night when I had some heirloom tomatoes to use up and a flourishing basil plant. My husband LOVED this simple Summer Garden Pasta so much that he ate seconds and thirds! While I used heirloom tomatoes the first time, any good ripe tomato will work. This time I used organic Roma and grape tomatoes.
This is a sort of non-recipe recipe. Don’t get too bogged down in exact measurements. Another clove of garlic? Great. You like things really spicy. A few more red pepper flakes? Fine. More than a pound of tomatoes to use up? Go ahead. The basic recipe is below but be free to tailor it to your preferences. Just keep it simple.
Summer Garden Pasta is wonderful for those steamy summer days when turning on the oven is unthinkable. So buy your bread and feast!
Yield: 4 generous servings
About 1.25 pounds of ripe tomatoes, coarsely diced
5 to 6 large cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
2 to 3 anchovies in oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 Tablespoons EVOO (I used a Mediterranean flavored oil, but any good EVOO will do )
2 Tablespoons Canola or other neutral oil
1 cup roasted bell peppers (homemade or from a jar), rinsed, patted dry and coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar (it balances the acidity of the tomatoes)
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 cup of pasta water
1 pound of dry pasta like a fusilli
Lots of fresh basil leaves (a large handful), with about half kept for garnish
In a large pan with a tight fitting lid, add your oils, garlic cloves and anchovies. On a low heat, cook the garlic until it is golden, bathing it occasionally in the oil. The anchovies will have broken down and become indistinguishable from the oil. This took me about 15 minutes.
Once the garlic is golden (do NOT burn the garlic!) add the chopped tomatoes, roasted red peppers, salt, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes, if using. Cook on gentle heat, covered for about 12 to 15 minutes or when the tomatoes have broken down and become saucy. You don’t want mush. I like to still see some of the tomato chunks.
Up to this point, you can make the sauce ahead if you choose. The other ingredients will be added when you are ready to eat.
When you are ready to cook your pasta, bring the sauce to a simmer. Crumble in the goat cheese and mix through. Add the pasta water just before draining the pasta and half of the basil. The leaves can be torn or left whole. Your preference.
Mix everything through and simmer uncovered for about 2 minutes. Drain your pasta and add it to the sauce, mixing it well. Alternatively, add the sauce to the plated pasta. Garnish with lots of basil that has been chiffonaded and some grated parmesan or pecorino, if desired. Mangia!