Friday, August 21, 2009

Trader Joe's Tuesday Goes Tomato Crazy on Friday!

I have been craving something every day since Monday when we made the most amazing dinner, which Aaron, the beau, says is one of his favorite pasta dishes ever!

It's a variation on Checca Sauce, the famous Italian tomato based sauce that has tomato, basil, garlic, olive oil and mozzarella cheese. It's a much simpler version that truly celebrates that tomatoes that are either in your garden or at Trader Joe's!

Trader Joe's has wonderful boxes of heirloom tomatoes right now. They are not only stunning to the palate, they are just gorgeous to use in this recipe because they are every shade of red, from deep purple to yellow-green-red.

Here are the ingredients:

Pasta (I used the Lemon Pepper Pappardelle but plain egg noodles would be possibly even more fabulous)
Fresh Basil
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper (I used course salt and roughly grated pepper)
Optional: Just a little....if you do add it...grated Reggiano Parmigiano and/or a few roasted pine nuts.

The bottom line is that this dish is a celebration of tomatoes. The pasta is just there to hold the tomatoes, the Basil is just there to powerfully accent it, the olive oil cloaks it in loveliness, and the salt and pepper just give it the little kick in the pants the tomatoes love to reach their full glory.

  1. Boil a package of pasta while you...
  2. Chop several tomatoes up in small bite-sized chunks.
  3. Chop the basil coursely.
  4. When the pasta is done, toss it with the tomatoes, basil, a few long drizzles of olive oil, salt and pepper (and just a tiny bit of grated parmesan and/or pine nuts if you really need to do it!)....and you are done.

Seriously, for summer tomatoes, I think this is the ultimate celebration -- even more so than gazpacho or caprese salad because peppers and cheese pull your attention from the true glory of the tomatoes. Honestly, I say don't add the options of parmesan or pine nuts if you really want to taste all the nuances in the tomatoes, but you aren't a heretic if you do add them. Just try a few bites at least without the additions -- just get a noodle, some tomato and a little basil on a fork and roll it around in your mouth and really let the tomato flavor explode...

Buon appetito!!!!

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