I definitely haven’t been cooking as much as I usually do. Well, that’s not entirely true. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that I haven’t been making many recipes this summer. This could partly stem from the unending heat and humidity. I can’t remember a summer where the weather has been so relentless.
Mostly, we’ve been eating the summer bounty straight, sometimes with grilled meat and sometimes not. Corn on the cob is a staple, but we simply microwave it and eat it plain. There have been string beans, but again, just steamed in the microwave. We’ve been eating plates full of sliced fresh vegetables, like cucumbers and tomatoes, sprinkled with a spiced salt mixture I make. The most complicated thing I’ve put together in the past week or two is Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with tomato wedges, slivered fresh basil, fresh mozzarella or burrata, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s more of a concept than a recipe.
There’s no doubt that I love to eat this time of year, especially now that tomatoes are at their peak. I eat at least one a day. Unfortunately, we’re not growing any in our own garden due to some garden renovations that Howard had planned. So, I buy them at the local farm stand.
This is one of my favorite summer dinners. Once the tomatoes peak, we eat it often. It’s fast to put together and combines some of my favorite flavors. The only drawback to this recipe is that, because of the fresh basil, it isn’t a good keeper. I only make what we’re going to eat at one meal. If you have a bigger family than my family of two, I suggest you double this (or adjust by the appropriate multiple).
Pasta with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
Serves 2 – 3
Adapted from Gourmet magazine (September 2000)
½ lb pasta (I prefer cavatappi, but you can use anything tubular, like gemelli, rotini, or penne)
½ lb fresh tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
1 – 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
¼ cup Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
¼ cup slivered fresh basil leaves
Salt & pepper to taste
Boil a large pot of water, and add the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, cut up the tomatoes. If you are using whole tomatoes, dice into ¼-inch cubes. If you are using cherry tomatoes, just cut them in half. Toss the tomatoes with salt to taste (I use about ½ tsp), and let them sit while the pasta cooks. The salt will bring out the juice from the tomatoes.
Cook the pasta just until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain. Return the pasta to the pot.
Toss the hot pasta with the goat cheese until the cheese is melted and smooth and the pasta is coated. Add the tomatoes, along with any juices, the olives, and basil, and toss gently to combine.
Add additional salt and pepper to taste.