So, apparently yesterday’s ode to tomatoes, basil and mozzarella had such a strong effect on me…that I had to eat it immediately. And since I happened to have a big stack of heirloom tomatoes from my weekend farmers market trip, I only needed a few extra ingredients to make a simple summer pasta that would satisfy all caprese cravings. The key to this pasta is chopping up the tomatoes into really big, rustic chunks and then barely cooking them…only until they’re warmed through and soft, not broken down into a sauce. Ditto with the scallions – they should still be bright green with a slight crunch. With generous pieces of fresh melty mozzarella, these ingredients are amazing served over penne, linguine or any other kind of pasta… I used the fresh spinach spaghetti that I’d picked up from Pasta & Co’s stand at the market. The whole concept here is to use what you have, what’s in season, what sounds delicious to you… because isn’t that what simple summer cooking is all about? Keep reading for more photos and the recipe…
Heirloom Tomato Pasta with Scallions & Mozzarella
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large heirloom tomatoes (the gnarlier the shape and crazier the color, the better)
- kosher salt
- bunch of scallions, thinly sliced lengthwise
- bunch of basil, torn into large pieces
- 5 or 6 oz of fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini), or one large piece cut into 1″ squares
- 1 lb pasta (I used fresh spinach spaghetti, but plain penne or linguine would work just as well)
- Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring pasta water to a boil in a large pot, add a healthy dose of kosher salt, then cook the pasta according to package directions. When it reaches al denté, drain. While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce.
- Chop the tomatoes into big, 1″ chunks. Over medium heat, swirl a tablespoon of olive oil to coat the bottom of a large sauté pan. Cook the minced garlic until it starts to turn golden, then add all the tomatoes and their juices. Let cook for 2 minutes, then add scallions. Let cook for a couple minutes just until the scallions start to get a bit soft. Sprinkle vegetables with kosher salt, then add basil (reserving a few sprigs) and cooked pasta.
- Add fresh mozzarella, kosher salt and pepper, another drizzle of olive oil to get all the pasta strands lightly coated, and give it all a big toss. Serve in bowls garnished with a few sprigs of basil and freshly-grated parmesan.
*images by Camille