Heirloom Tomato Pasta
It’s that time of year when we’re just starting to transition to fall, and yet the indian summer in San Francisco is still hanging on: the evening air is crisp and cool, and the days are getting shorter, but we’re enjoying impossibly beautiful, warm and sunny days (it’s even supposed to get into the 80s this weekend!) that fool us into thinking that it’s still summer.
The fact that gorgeous heirloom tomatoes are still in abundance doesn’t help to convince me that summer is over and fall has arrived. Sure, I’m excited to transition to cooking all the incredibly delicious fall vegetables (hello, butternut squash). But I cannot resist taking advantage of these late-summer beauties while they’re still here.
I especially cannot resist picking up some heirloom tomatoes at the store because of this simple pasta, one of the dishes that has become a summer staple at this house: it’s fresh, delicious, seasonal, and incredibly easy to make on a weeknight after work (or after taking care of a crazy little baby). I found the recipe last summer in an issue of Food & Wine, and over the course of last summer and this summer—with a few little tweaks—it has become one of our absolute favorites.
Heirloom tomatoes won’t be around for long, and soon we’ll just be seeing the sad, sorry excuses for tomatoes that we get at the grocery store during the winter. Of course, this loss will be offset by all the apples, winter squash, sweet potatoes, beets… oh my! But before that happens, if you can, enjoy this delectable, simple dish before it’s too late.
HEIRLOOM TOMATO PASTA
Adapted—just a little—from Food & Wine
Serves 3-4 as an entrée
1 8 oz. package of long, thin pasta (such as cappellini or spaghettini)
2-4 heirloom tomatoes*
3 garlic cloves
salt & pepper
* If the tomatoes are especially large (heirloom tomatoes can be huge!), two will work well. But if they’re on the smaller side, go for 2-3 tomatoes. On my last trip to the store, I opted for 4 slightly smaller tomatoes, so that I could use a mix of varieties and color: two black krims, a green zebra, and a yellow valencia (don’t you just love the crazy names of heirloom tomatoes?).
Chop the heirloom tomatoes and place in a large bowl, along with all their juices. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of good quality olive oil on top, and season well with salt and pepper. Let the tomatoes hang out in the bowl—the salt will bring out all the juices and create an incredibly yummy sauce—while you prep the shallots and garlic.
Roughly chop the shallots and mince the garlic. In a small saucepan, heat a couples splashes of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, season with a little salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Next add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the bowl along with the tomatoes. Tear a small handful of basil leaves and add to the bowl. Stir to combine, and let everything hang out together (so that the flavors meld) while you make the pasta.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain. Add the cooked pasta to the bowl with the tomatoes, and toss well to coat with the sauce—the hot pasta will absorb some of the juices from the tomatoes, making the whole dish even more delicious. Divide among bowls, and top with a little extra basil for garnish. Serve and enjoy!