How fortunate. Just as tomato season kicks into high gear, I have the perfect opportunity to showcase this most seasonal of foods and get a little much needed culture at the same time. Not to go all Monte Burns on you, but all I can say is "Excellent!"
The occasion was w's friend Sue's b-day, which she had thoughtfully chosen to hold in Laurelhurst Park here in PDX at an evening performance of the Portland Festival Symphony. As our contribution to the potluck on the grass, we brought along some freshly roasted yellow and red peppers (from pepps we picked up at the Montavilla Farmer's Market that morning), as well as an über-seasonal fresh tomato and basil pasta that we adapted from an article we saw a few weeks ago in the NYT Sunday Magazine. All the food was fab, and again I thank the Gods of All that is Edible that my friends all seem to have mad skills in the kitchen, but I have to say our little pasta killed! It was so easy to throw together, nothing could be prettier with the vibrant yellow and red tomatoes practically jumping off the plate, and of course crazy delicious in that super-summery way. Try this soon, while the tomato bounty is in full swing. Your friends, and your hungry tummies, will thank you!
How nice of them to play at our dinner party!
adapted from the New York Times Magazine
5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
12 basil leaves
5 or 6 large ripe tomatoes (red and yellow make a great visual)
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pound dries penne (or rigatoni)
3/4 lb fresh mozzarella
1- Take out large bowl. Add garlic. Pour in olve oil. With scissors, snip the basil leaves into shreds over the garlic mixture. Gently combine. Let sit all day.
2-About 2 hours before serving, chop the otmatoes and add to the bowl. Gently combine.
3- When you're ready to eat, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook until done. While pasta cooks, cut the mozzarella into small cubes.
4-Drain the pasta and pour it on top of the tomato mixture. Do not stir. Spread the mozzarella on top of the pasta and toss only the pasta and cheese; the cheese will soften slightly, and the pasta will get coated with fat. Then gently stir up from the bottom, incorporating the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bread.
DRINK: Wine, preferably cold and crisp. We took a well-chilled bottle of 2006 Palazzone "Terre Vineate" Orvieto Classico from Italy that was perfect! I could also easily get with an icy cold dry rosé from France or Italy.