One of the many reasons we anticipate tomato season for the rest of the year is a favorite pasta dinner. Since we’re lucky enough to have a large variety at hand, we collect a bunch of different colored paste tomotoes, red, yellow, orange – about 1 1/2 quarts. Also from our own garden, a clove of garlic, and plenty of basil.
A few ingredients from the store, too: Extra virgin olive oil, a can of black olives, salt to taste. Pretty basic and simple. This is not a recipe I can really put down on paper, since I don’t measure the ingredients, but here’s the general idea.
Into a large bowl I chop the tomatoes into medium sized chunks, then douse them with olive oil. Next, I chop several cloves of garlic really fine. I generally use a little salt on the garlic as I mince it; it makes the operation less sticky, and adds the salt that flavors the dish. After I stir in the garlic, I add basil. You can never add too much basil to tomatoes.
Someone once told me that cutting basil seals in the flavor; that the proper way to release the flavor is to tear the basil leaves – so that’s what I do. I keep tearing and tearing, stirring the mixture as the top becomes covered by flakes of basil. Finally, I drain the olives, slice them, if they’re not already sliced, and add them to the mixture. At this point, it should look something like this:
OK, all the hard work’s done! Except for adding more basil – I’m always adding more basil. As you finish combining everything, you will notice that the tomatoes are beginning to release a bit of their juice – this is part of the process. Now you cover the bowl, and keep it at room temperature for about 3 hours, more or less, so the tomatoes can deliquesce.
When you’re ready for dinner, boil up a pound of pasta – something like rotini, fusilli, radiatore to hold the juice – to the desired tenderness. Drain it, returning it immediately to the warm pot. At this point, you simply pour the whole tomato mixture into the pasta, stir it up, and serve. We were told it’s Pasta alla putanesca, but we’ve seen a wide variety of recipes with that name.
Anyway, it’s also delicious later, as a cold pasta salad, so we always make enough to have leftovers.