After all of that talk about late blight, we’ve been getting tons of beautiful tomatoes from the CSA. I think they taste better, knowing that they were at risk. This recipe is the perfect showcase for summer tomatoes.
They shine when chopped and tossed with a simple vinaigrette…
Fresh mozzarella, frozen first, so it doesn’t get all stringy and gross when tossed with the hot pasta…
Basil from the garden…
Yum! Tastes like summer!
Recipe courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2-4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (see note below)
- 1 small garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 small shallot , minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes , cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese , cut into 1/2-inch cubes (see note below)
- 1 pound penne pasta or other short tubular or curly pasta such as fusilli or campanelle
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon sugar (see note below)
Whisk oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add tomatoes and gently toss to combine; set aside. Do not marinate tomatoes for longer than 45 minutes.
While tomatoes are marinating, place mozzarella on plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 10 minutes. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain well.
Add pasta and mozzarella to tomato mixture and gently toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice or sugar, if desired, and serve immediately.
Note: This dish will be very warm, not hot. The success of this recipe depends on high-quality ingredients, including ripe, in-season tomatoes and a fruity olive oil. Don’t skip the step of freezing the mozzarella, as freezing prevents it from turning chewy when it comes in contact with the hot pasta. If handmade buffalo- or cow’s-milk mozzarella is available (it’s commonly found in gourmet and cheese shops packed in water), we highly recommend using it, but skip the step of freezing and add it to the tomatoes while marinating. Additional lemon juice or up to 1 teaspoon sugar can be added at the end to taste, depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes.
In other news, tomorrow’s my first day of work. I have my bag packed and my outfit laid out, just like the first day of school when I was a kid! I’m very excited and a little nervous, wish me luck!