I have two great friends with strong Italian roots. Giovanni Lugli is from Carpi, a small town in northern Italy near Bologna. And, Anthony Vaccaro's family originates from Sicily in southern Italy. They both agree on the basics of this recipe as it is enjoyed in Italy during the summertime. With the hot summer months, the last thing you want to do is heat up your kitchen by cooking all day. This very simple dish involves creating a cold sauce, made with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and tomatoes, and combining it with hot pasta. With a little wine, some antipasto, a salad, and maybe some fresh sliced fruit for dessert, it all makes for a pleasant and flavorful evening without a lot of fuss or heat in the kitchen.
Summertime Pasta with Tomatoes
inspired by friends Giovanni Lugli and Anthony Vaccaro
makes 4 servings
1 lb Fresh Tomatoes, any type or combination
1/4 cu Fresh Basil Leaves, loosely packed
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
2 tbl Garlic Infused Olive Oil, recipe below
1 lb Fresh Pasta, your choice
Parmesan Cheese, optional, finely grated
Chop the tomatoes into a small dice and transfer them to a large bowl. Layer the basil leaves on a cutting board and then roll them up tightly. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice leaves into little ribbons (a chiffonade) and add to the tomatoes. Add garlic infused olive oil, salt and pepper and toss ingredients to combine. Cover mixture with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for an hour or so.
Just before ready to serve, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl. Sample tomato mixture and adjust the taste with additional salt and/or pepper, if necessary. Add tomatoes to pasta, toss to combine, and serve. Give your guests the option of adding parmesan cheese if you like.
Garlic Infused Olive Oil
1/2 cu Olive Oil
2-3 large Garlic Cloves
Pour olive oil into a small bottle, ideally one with a long neck and small opening. Peel and smash the garlic cloves. Place each smashed clove into the olive oil and let the oil absorb the garlic flavor for a few hours to overnight. To use the oil, simply cover the top of the bottle with your thumb as you pour, keeping the smash garlic from coming out of the bottle. Use all of the oil within a week.