This is one of our favorite summer recipes for several reasons. First of all, it’s delicious. Secondly, it is incredibly easy to make: everything for the sauce is simply combined in a blender without ever being cooked. And what really makes this dish special is that these fresh, seasonal ingredients are only available for a few weeks, making it a rare treat that we look forward to all year long!
This robust raw Italian sauce perfectly blends heirloom tomatoes, cloves of garlic, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper creating a heavenly pasta that is healthy and light. We like to use a mix of heirlooms since each kind brings different colors and flavors, and every time we make this dish, it is slightly different and always unique. When selecting your tomatoes, use the ripest ones you can find, and try to get a mix of sweet and tangy varieties to give your sauce a rich, balanced flavor. For the pasta, we use fusilli as it goes so well here, but feel free to use another similar shape like farfalle or radiatore if you prefer.
The inspiration for this meal came from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, which is one of our favorite cookbooks. We made a few changes, increasing the basil and garlic. And while the original calls for cubed mozzarella cheese, we prefer to leave it out and focus on the classic combination of tomato, basil, and garlic. These three ingredients have a natural affinity for each other, and are best when prepared simply, allowing them to truly shine on their own. When the tomatoes are ripe, the basil is sweet, and the garlic is fresh, there is nothing that compares. Now is the only time of year to make this while we are in the peak of tomato season, so head to your local farmers market, select the best ones you can find, and get ready to enjoy the spirit of summer with this colorful and delicious pasta that is bursting with flavor!
Fusilli with Heirloom Tomatoes
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home
1 pound fusilli pasta
4 cups chopped heirloom tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
14 basil leaves (approximately)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the fusilli according to package directions until al dente.
While the pasta cooks, set aside one cup of chopped tomatoes and 2 basil leaves for garnish. Place the remaining 3 cups of tomatoes in a food processor or blender, and also add the rest of the basil leaves, chopped garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Purée until smooth, and taste to adjust seasonings to your liking. Take the two reserved basil leaves and slice them into thin strips.
When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot. Add the tomato purée and toss to combine. To serve, top each bowl of pasta with some of the reserved chopped tomatoes and sliced basil. Serve hot, and enjoy!