Summertime Pasta Anytime – this recipe is a long time favourite in our household. There’s only five ingredients and a little salt and pepper so it’s an easy go-to recipe for me when I need to make dinner in a hurry.
I love it because I am a tomato freak. I have them sitting on my counter the way most people do apples or bananas. I eat at least one everyday. I’m also a tomato snob. So, I really care about the quality of the tomatoes I eat.
Thankfully my friends Phil and Levi Tiemstra and Scott Epple started Gull Valley Greenhouses in 1991 and I’m able to get vine-ripened tomatoes year round because of their business. They are bonafide Food Artisans of Alberta and I appreciate the care they take to grow without pesticides and with low energy consumption. They always leave the fruit on the vine and handle it as little as possible.
The fragrance that hits me when I open my grocery bag at home, is the same one that greeted me when I plucked tomatoes off the vine in my Dad’s garden growing up. It’s the taste of sunshine and warmth on a summer’s day. They might cost a little more, but that instant leap to childhood days in my Dad’s garden is priceless. Read on for the recipe.
Summertime Pasta Anytime
Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 hearty servings
Equipment: knife, chopping board, big pot
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 lb package whole grain fettuccini or other broad long noodle
- ½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1 wedge (about 8 – 12 ounces) Gorgonzola or Cambozola cheese, rind removed and chopped into large chunks (you can substitute Brie or Camenbert if you don’t like blue cheese)
- 1 cup basil leaves, roughly torn
- 5 or 6 vine-ripened medium or a dozen smaller tomatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- Pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the salt followed by the pasta.
- Toast the pine nuts in a 350ºF oven until light brown – about 3 minutes. Keep your eye on them and set a timer as they can burn on a dime.
- Chop the cheese and tomatoes while the pasta cooks.
- Drain the pasta into a colander. Do not rinse it, but put it immediately back into the hot pasta pot.
- Toss in the cheese and tomatoes and stir until the cheese melts.
- Mix in the pine nuts and basil reserving a few of each to garnish the dish.
- Transfer to a platter to serve and top with fresh ground pepper and the extra basil leaves and pine nuts.
- Enjoy with a hearty Italian red wine, a thick slice of rustic bread and a green salad. This also makes a great side with steak or grilled chicken.