Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Friday, August 20, 2010

Summer tomato pasta

It's tomato season! All year I look at the sad tomatoes in the grocery store and long for the end of summer when ripe red tomatoes are abundant. Now's the time, so grab them from your farm share depot or farmer's market, harvest them from your backyard garden, or hit up a neighbor who grew too many.

I needed a quick family dinner last night, so I mixed up this pasta. The longest part of the preparation process was waiting for the water to boil!

It's more of a method than a recipe, use as much of each ingredient as you like. You can make this recipe for one person or for ten. Here's what I did:
  1. Put on water to boil.
  2. Chop tomatoes and add to a large bowl with finely minced garlic, chopped basil leaves, cubed mozzerella, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Boil pasta according to package directions. Add beans to last few minutes of pasta cooking time. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking liquid.
  4. Toss hot pasta with tomato mixture. If the pasta seems dry to you add the reserved cooking liquid.
You can choose the ingredients and amounts you like. I used plum and grape tomatoes (it amounted to about 3 cups when chopped) from the farm share, part-skim mozzerella (about 4 oz), and whole-wheat pasta (the whole pound), plus about ¼ cup of olive oil, about ½ cup chopped basil, and about 1 ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. I added about 1 ½ cups of precooked/frozen white beans. I used one garlic clove and thought it was very garlicky – you could try ½ a clove if you aren't a fan of strong garlic flavors. We topped our pasta with parmesan cheese and it was delicious!

Today's tip: Grab summer tomatoes and enjoy them while they are at their best!

Fun Pop Quiz: What culture invented boiled pasta?

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