Garden Lifestyle

Tomato Time!

Well it is that time of year again.

Garden bounty--it's what's for supper! 'Genoa Green' basil, assorted heirloom tomatoes and fresh cured garlic. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger

Well it is that time of year again… the tomatoes have started coming in so that I feel abundantly blessed. By next week, I might feel tomato deluge. I love a dead-ripe, juicy homegrown tomato–there is nothing like it–here’s a few ways that I am eating them without having to cook much.

First and foremost I eat a tomato sandwich nearly everyday. I especially like them for breakfast. Well lunch and dinner and for afternoon snack too. I will not wax poetic about tomato sandwiches here because I have done that in the past. Just rereading this blog makes me salivate and I’ve already filled my quota today. /item/6314/the-tomato-sandwich-summers-ultimate-food

Hhmmm… this seems to be a recurring theme in my summer blogs. I’m including this one here because it has a link to a recipe for homemade tomato salsa which is the best and so easy to prepare. This one has cilantro which is herb of the year 2017 (if you don’t like cilantro, use oregano). /item/9639/tis-the-seasonfor-tomatoes-that-is

Although green tomatoes are another subject entirely–while they are plentiful on the vine right now–please indulge in the following recipe for fried green tomatoes: /item/9979/fried-green-tomatoes

So aside from tomato sandwiches, tomato salsa and fried green tomatoes, and of course the ever-popular Caprese salad with tomatoes, mozzerella and basil, I like to make the simple, following recipe, which I learned in Italy over 30 years ago.

Summer Tomatoes and Basil tossed with Pasta

The cool thing about this recipe is that you can cut the tomatoes up ahead of time and toss them with the basil, garlic, salt, freshly ground pepper and olive oil and let it sit. I do this a few hours ahead and it allows the tomatoes to make this lovely juicy liquid. Then when you are ready for dinner, put on a pot of water to boil, cook the pasta, drain and toss it with the marinated tomatoes. Use whatever pasta you like from fettuccine to penne, or even a filled cheese ravioli or tortellini; I like wholewheat or herb fettuccine. I make it pretty heavy on the tomatoes–so it’s about equal parts tomatoes to pasta–you can use less. I also like to mix colors and sizes. Serve with a dish of imported olives, a green salad and some crusty bread to sop up the juice.

Makes enough tomatoes to toss with 1 pound of pasta


About 2 to 3 pounds dead-ripe summer tomatoes

4 to 5 cloves fresh garlic sliced into thin slivers or about 12 to 15 whole, roasted garlic cloves popped from their skin

Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

About 1 cup basil leaves

About 1 pound pasta

Fresh grated Parmigniano or Pecorino Romano


Wash the tomatoes (I don’t skin them however you can if you want), core them and cut them into medium, bite-sized pieces; not too big and not too small. Put the tomatoes into a bowl with the garlic and generously season with salt and pepper.

Cut the basil leaves crosswise into chiffonade (shreds). Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil, add the basil and toss well. Let stand in a cool place for a minimum of 30 minutes; I usually leave them for 2 to 3 hours and stir occasionally.

Cook the pasta to al dente, drain it and add it to the bowl with the tomatoes and toss well. Add a bit more olive oil to brighten the dish and taste for salt and pepper. Serve into individual plates and pass the Parmigniano and hot red pepper flakes, if desired.

Buon appetito!





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