Monday, July 14, 2008

Fresh Tomato Pasta Recipe : Easy Dinner

We are blessed with a local farmers market. All of the produce is grown in our county by local people. There are no huge commercial operations; just regular folks, working hard to make a living and provide fresh products for our little community. I've gotten so much good food there this year: tomatoes, squash, blackberries, peaches . . . all grown right here. It feels great to buy fresh food from local people.

I found these gorgeous tomatoes at our local market. I'm not food stylist. I just put these beauties in a glass bowl, but look how beautiful they are!!! [and they were delicious too!] Because I had SO many tomatoes and we had eaten SO MANY BLTs, I decided to put together a simple dinner; using what I had on hand. The result . . . FRESH TOMATO PASTA.

I started with Southern Living pictorial - Food TV-worthy tomatoes, grown by a local farmer.

I picked fresh basil & thyme from my herb garden; conveniently right outside my back door. Sorry, not trying to brag, it's just the nicest little "good thing" . . . fresh herbs literally at my fingertips.

I pulled the thyme from the stems and did a chiffonade on the basil. Chiffonade simply means thinly sliced or cut into ribbons. To chiffonade, stack & tightly roll the basil leaves like a cigar. Then cut slices, as thin as you can get them.

The basil will look like this:

Good Olive Oil is a must. I really should have been Italian. Good wine & good olive oil are some of the finer necessities in life! ;-)

To make this dish; simply dice the fresh tomatoes and put them in a large bowl. Season with a little salt & pepper. In the meantime, boil some water for the pasta. Be sure to salt the water before it boils and add a little olive oil to the boiling water before adding your pasta so that the pasta doesn't stick together. Cook the pasta until it is al dente.

I used linquine, but if you prefer another kind of pasta; give it a try. Angel hair might be a bit too fine, but spaghetti, fettucine or even penne would be good alternatives, if you like. Whole wheat noodles will be fine too, if that's what you like best.

When the pasta has cooked, drain well and put in the large bowl with the fresh tomatoes. Add the basil & thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and toss well. The heat from the pasta will slightly warm the tomatoes; making a light, delicious dish.

Plate up your wonderful, fresh dinner and top with some fresh grated parmesan cheese. [I took my pics before I added the cheese, but it was the perfect accent in this dish]. It is delicious, as it, but we had some leftover grilled chicken so put that on the side. If you have some cooked shrimp, that would be a good addition too. Serve with some crusty bread or garlic bread and a nice glass of wine.IF there are any leftovers, this is wonderful as a cold salad for lunch the next day.

buon appetito