Tomato Basil Pasta
I know it's fall but it's hard for me to let go of summer produce. I love them so much. So to celebrate the beginning of a new season and to binge on tomatoes one last time, we decided to go on a spontaneous apple picking trip to Riamede Farm in Jersey. It's close to NYC and my favorite part is their field of pick your own tomatoes. I did my best not to overdo it and came back with just enough apples and tomatoes to last me the week. So with my farm fresh tomatoes, I decided to make one of my favorite summer recipes: tomato and basil pasta.
I actually make the pasta cold in summer because it's so much more refreshing, but since the temperatures are starting to drop I tweaked it to make it a little heartier. And it turned out even better. The beauty is in the preparation of tomatoes two ways. You first start off dicing all your tomatoes. I used plum and cherry because that's what I picked but you can use whatever you want. The sweeter the better so don't attempt this dish in the winter when the tomatoes lack flavor. You reserve half of the tomatoes to be mixed in fresh while the other half goes into the sauce.
Once you have the tomatoes diced and 3 cloves of garlic minced, you're ready to turn on the stove. Put a pot of water on high for pasta water and season it with salt so it tastes like sea water. Heat up a pan on low and add enough olive oil to coat the pan. Throw in the minced garlic and half the diced tomatoes with 2 pinches of salt and let it sweat. You don't have to watch it as long as your heat is low. Mix in another 2 pinches of salt to the other half of diced tomatoes. While you wait for the pasta water to boil, shave some parmesan cheese and chiffonade the basil (chiffonade sounds fancy but all you have to do is roll the basil leaves and slice as thin as possible to get fine strips). Since I planned to use orzo for my pasta, I then further minced the basil.
Once your tomatoes look like this, you can turn off the pan. Once the pasta is ready and drained, mix it into sauce with the parmesan cheese. Then mix in the raw tomatoes and basil into the pasta right before serving and check for seasoning. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan.