This has been a heart-breaking year for tomato growers in the northeastern region of the United States, where an unusually rainy summer has helped to propagate infection of tomato blight. Typically at this time of year, my pop's garden would have so many ripe tomatoes that he wouldn't be able to give all of it away. This year the harvest was severely anemic, and of the tomatoes that survived, they were so cosmetically challenged that all you could do is throw them into a tomato sauce.
Fortunately for me, I enjoy making tomato and basil pasta sauce. It's a dish that is so simple and delicious that I think it is one of the best ways to celebrate summer's fresh flavors.
SIMPLE TOMATO AND BASIL PASTA
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 5-6 medium-sized tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1- 16 ounce package of pasta
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- olive oil for drizzling
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- In a saute pan, heat the olive oil and stir in the minced garlic. Once the garlic has toasted into a nice golden color, immediately stir in the diced tomatoes and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Simmer on low heat until the tomato sauce has reduced to a desired consistency.
- Once the tomato sauce is close to a desired consistency, make the pasta. In the meantime, with a large pot bring 5-6 quarts of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add 2 tablespoons sea salt and cook the pasta for 4 minutes or until al dente. Drain the pasta and drizzle with olive oil, and gently mix to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
- Integrate the pasta and basil into the sauce. Top with shaved Parmesan, if desired.