20 June 2007
what's cooking wednesday: pasta with fresh tomatoes & basil

Summer's here! Luna says, "Mamma mia, fa caldo!"

It's hot. This means that cooking during the day is ill-advised, so our usual lunchtime pasta course often finds its place in the evenings (unless I've made a lovely summer pasta salad).
But a requirement is still that it must be fast and easy; it cools down in the evenings, but not that much.

So this week's What's Cooking Wednesday is one of our summer favorites, a seasonal salsa with fresh tomatoes and basil--quite possibly my most favorite dish in the whole world. I can't possibly overstate my love for basil, so you'll be seeing a lot more of it around these parts, I promise.

I'm leaving the "pasta" here in the general term as we've had this dish in the past few days with penne and with linguine (as shown in the photos).

Always delicious.

Fresh Tomatoes & Basil Salsa
(Pasta con pomodori e basilico)

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed

3 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped coarsely
8 large basil leaves
1/4 cup water

salt to taste

Put the water on to boil for the pasta of your choice.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and then add onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until onions are translucent and garlic is just starting to brown.

Tear 6 of the basil leaves and stir into the mix.

Add tomatoes and salt, and mix everything well.

Add water periodically if sauce begins to look too dry (depends on how juicy your tomatoes are).

Let cook for about 15-20 minutes on medium-high heat, and with about 5 minutes to go add the rest of the basil.

In the meantime, once the water is boiling, prepare the pasta; everything should be ready at about the same time.

Toss the pasta with the salsa well and serve hot with a sprinkling of grated cheese on top (and peperoncini on the side if you like it spicy).

Buon appetito!

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Blogger Caroline in Rome said...

I just printed out the recipe. So simple. So good. Thanks!

Blogger -R- said...

That looks like the perfect summer meal!

Blogger Jane said...

Oh my, that looks so tasty. I love fresh homemade sauce and now that summer is here and the produce is fresh, I'm trying your recipe soon!!

Blogger Lisa Milton said...

Just in time for trip to the store. Thanks.

Blogger Erin said...

Does that ever look fabulous! I love tomato anything. I can't wait till all my tomatoes are ready and I can make homemade salsa and spaghetti sauce...mmm!

I'm making this on Saturday. easy and so good!

Anonymous Sara said...

Luna is just so damn cute!!! Puppy, puppy, puppy!

Oh, and yeah, the pasta looks good, too. ;)

Blogger sognatrice said...

Caroline, Jane, Lisa, Erin, NYC, if you do end up making it, be sure to let me know how it turned out!

R, I love summer mostly because of this meal. Seriously.

Sara, Luna's check to you is in the mail ;)

Okay, that one's definitely another keeper! Yum! The simpler, the better, as far as I'm concerned. :-) So, tell me. Had you always cooked these dishes before moving to Italy, or did you pick up recipes from P's mom and your helpful neighbors?


Anonymous Judith in Umbria said...

And if you roll out some fresh pasta, it takes about 30 seconds to cook.

Remember the spicy olive mish mash I recommended? Drop of oil, a spoonful of that, you're eating.

But this is a great summer fix for the heated tummy, too. Yummers.

Summer? Tomatos? Good, but..!!! Do you speak Italian? click on http://antoninocondorelli.blogspot.com

I agree with everybody else, that looks great. I wish you could come over to my house and make some for me. (I'm a very lazy cook). Bring Luna too...she could play with my two fat Roman cats. One of my cats is as big as a small dog and acts like one too (comes when I whistle, follows me around, wants me to scratch his belly) so I'm sure they'd get along just fine.

Blogger Verilion said...

Mmm that looks just yummy. Maybe when I am on holiday and not so lazy about cooking I will have a go. I so love all Italian food (in fact anything mediterranean) that I'm sure I was born in the wrong place!

Blogger Karen Cole said...

I'm never going to lose weight!!!

Food is so glorious, especially with the freshest ingredients.

Any good suggestions for NYC Italian restaurants? I am currently in NYC with my daughter and we are getting hungry after seeing these photos!!!

Blogger Giulia said...

Poor Luna! I think a trip to the beach to play in the water is in order.

Well, Sognatrice, my Patron Saint of Kitchens. Guess I will call my favorite local Italian restaurant and see if they have something like this for take out. Ha. Ha.

Have a great day!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Blogger Starshine said...

Yummmmmmmmmm! That looks delish!

Thank you for the kind message you left on my blog today. It means a lot.

I lived in Spain in 2002-2003, and during my time there, I developed a love for strong coffee...I think I bled espresso at times there, as well!

I hope you're enjoying every moment of your life in Italia!

Blogger sognatrice said...

Christina, good question! What I've posted here is a pretty even mix of things I used to make before with things I've been taught with things I've played around with and discovered. This one is a "P & me" recipe as we discovered it together. Usually if it's a recipe from home (from my mom/grandmother) or from P's mom, I'll mention it in the post. Suffice it to say, though, that I cook *a lot* more here than I ever did in the US.

Judith, yes, quick to cook, but to make? On hot summer nights? I think I'll wait until autumn to go at the pasta machine ;) Spicy olive mish...yum!

Antonino, è una bomba! P will definitely like the fegatini part once I show him....

Shelley, Luna + cats = um, lots of running around with her ears perked up and screechy barking. She literally never looks happier than when she's tormenting a cat. Granted she's just playing and doesn't really want to harm them, but still, a bit disruptive for dinner time.

Verilion, it's a great summer vacation recipe--excellent point!

Karen, you'd be surprised how the weight just comes off when you focus on eating fresh things--I've lost about 30 pounds (perhaps a bit more) here over the past 3 years just from the change in diet. And believe me, I still eat plenty of pasta :) I'm sorry to say I don't have anything to recommend in NY, but perhaps a reader can help you?

New Yorkahs...Italian restaurants? Anyone?

Giulia, definitely yummy. Kid friendly too, right? Unless they don't like basil. In which case, they'd be disowned, I would imagine ;)

Blogger Delina said...

You can't beat a pasta e pomodoro in the summer here. I've tried cooking it back in England but it's never quite the same.

Blogger sognatrice said...

Scarlett, you know Luna has never been to the beach? I think she'd love it despite truly hating bath time. We'll have to try it out (and get photos). Best of luck at your local Italian place...this may be too "authentic" for them to offer though ;)

Starshine, thank you for visiting! Glad to hear you know what I'm talking about regarding the coffee--so addictive!

Blogger sognatrice said...

Delina, you're absolutely right--the quality of tomato really does make a difference. Well, and the olive oil and the basil and....

Blogger Jér said...

Wow, thanks so much for reminding me of this delicious classic. I can't believe that in the time I've been back from Italy I had completely forgotten about it.

On a related but tangential note, I need to make some olio al peperoncino to drizzle over this when I make it. MMMM-mmmm-mmmm.

Blogger Helen said...

Simple, fresh and just glorious!

Blogger Ally Bean said...

I like simple dishes with lots of flavor and this looks like one. Thanks for the recipe.

I'm so impressed with Luna's grasp of the Italian language. Is she bilingual? Does she speak and understand both English and Italian?

Oh, wonderful! Basil is one of the 3 or 4 best things in life. It has even been used as a love charm on occasion, and must surely have produced the desired effect.

Thank you for sharing your lovely recipe, and the photo of a really cute dog who barks in Italian. (!)

Blogger Karina said...

YUM...this sounds/looks so delicious an quick and easy to make (a must in the summer, I agree).

I wonder if I replace regular pasta with whole wheat pasta...then I can call it a diet dish! haha...

Blogger Christine said...

That's my favorite way in the world to make tomato sauce!

I partook in What's Cooking Wednesday today. I'm pretty damned proud of myself for cooking something and taking a picture.

Blogger Lavender said...

Luna is such a pretty pup, your recipes sound delish & I love all your shots of beautiful Italy- Happy WW - thanks for stopping by, Im happy to have discovered your blog. Cheers!

Blogger goodthomas said...

Sognatrice, this is wonderful.

Once again, your post is as if it has been ripped from one of the best recipe books around. Goodness. This looks so delicious, so good.

Loved the post yesterday, "lonely as a cloud."

Blogger Gil said...

Thanks for another great recipe. I'm sure my wife will make it soon as she just loves basil!

Blogger sognatrice said...

Jér, yes some peperoncino oil would be great with this!

Helen, to me, this is Italian cooking at its finest--fresh ingredients, fast, and delicious. Sure there's also something to be said for the 5 hour sauce, but for the summer? Can't beat fresh tomatoes and basil.

Ally, I have more fully answered your wonderful question in today's post :)

Heart, I have to do an entire post on basil someday; it does have a rather interesting history (aside from it being so tasty of course).

Karina, by all means, use the wheat pasta. I've yet to convince my OH that we should try it :(

Christine! Woohoo! You're in! I'm proud of you too! Incidentally, I found myself cooking a lot during my bar exam summer as well ;)

Lavender, welcome! I'm glad you found me too, and I'm happy you're enjoying your time here :)

GT, thank you much. I never get tired of sharing simple recipes. Like most of my titles, yesterday's came to me as I was waiting, waiting, waiting as the photos uploaded. Thank goodness for dial-up service, I say (at least in this case)!

Gil, stay tuned for more to do with basil....

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you post on What's Cookin' Wednesday, I eat for dinner on Thursday. Nice arrangement we have here.

Thanks! Hope it cools down a bit...

Blogger sognatrice said...

Wunsch, it is my pleasure to be of service (*deep bow*).

Blogger JennieBoo said...

I made this for dinner last night and "The Hubby" loved it!

Thanks so much for sharing this yummy recipe!

BTW, I believe Basil is absolutely AWESOME!

Blogger sognatrice said...

JennieBoo, woohoo! A success story! Thanks so much for coming back to share :)

Blogger Pastormac's Ann said...

Yum! This recipe sounds delicious.

Blogger sognatrice said...

Ann, thanks for coming by, and happy belated Love Thursday!

Blogger espresso said...

hey im opening a cafe in australia and wanted to know if you think Bleeding Espresso would be a good name for a cafe?

Blogger espresso said...

hey i just want to know what you think of the name for an espresso bar called Bleeding Espresso

Blogger sognatrice said...

Espresso, well obviously I'm rather fond of the the phrase "bleeding espresso," since, you know, I made it up and used it as my blog title and all; to be honest, though, I'm not sure it'd actually be great for a cafe as blood may not be a very appetizing thing to bring up in that situation. But that's just me.

Best of luck in your endeavors, regardless!

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