One Of The Best Parts Of Summer

Basta Pasta

Like most people, summer is my favourite time of year.

But the moment I look forward to most is the inevitable tomato boon that starts to overtake the garden during the first few weeks of August.  This year my own garden has not yet produced more than a half dozen ripe cherry tomatoes, but the farmer’s market has been a great source for supplementing my growing tomato desire.  Of course, once you have those perfect globular specimens, there’s always the question of what to make with them?

Summer's Best

I used to think I had a clear winner when it came to the best use of a ripe summer tomato, but then I met the Everyman who introduced me to the joys of a toasted tomato sandwich.  My original answer would have been a batch of my mother’s succulent and tangy bruschetta, but now there are Caprese salads to nosh (improved by the recent discovery via Malcolm Jolley of a local producer of bufala mozzarella), tomato consommés to savour (thanks to Lucien for that revelation), mini tomatoes to pop into your mouth whole and enjoy like candy, and my quick and easy, simplified version of a primavera/carbonera pasta.

Peas 'N Pesto

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this pasta on here before, as I love to make it many times every summer when tomatoes are at their peak.  If I’m repeating myself, I do apologize, but if you haven’t tried it yet, you really must do so this year.  It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the flavours of summer without it being too heavy to enjoy on a hot summer day.  I made our first batch of the year for dinner last night by using up some leftover garlic scape pesto cubes I had in the freezer, and it was superb.  It has all the key components of a great carbonera (peas, pork fat) or primavera (tomatoes) but, it’s light yet satisfying with the omission of a cream sauce.

Enjoy!

Foodie’s Summervera Pasta

1 lb whole wheat spaghettini

0.5 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and stemmed

0.5 c. freshly shelled peas

pesto

0.5 tbsp pork fat

Prepare pasta as per package directions in a pot of heavily salted, boiling water.  Once cooked, drain pasta into a colander leaving a tiny amount of water in the pot.  Using the remnants of pasta water, add the pork fat and pesto (seen here frozen as cubes) to the pot and stir over medium heat until the fat and pesto are melted and form a loose sauce on the bottom of the pot.  Next, stir in the cherry tomatoes and peas, and allow to saute for a few minutes until the peas become a vibrant green and the tomato skins begin to shrivel and blister.  Next, add the pasta back to the pot and give it a quick stir to distribute the “sauce” to the noodles; the tomatoes will burst from the force of the stirring and add additional juiciness to the pasta.  Serve immediately garnished with a prodigious amount of freshly cracked black pepper.

Makes 4 portions.

Until next time…

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