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Monday, September 12, 2011

Heirloom Tomato Pasta

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.  You could stand all day at the stove, stirring a simmering pot of tomato sauce.  Or you could whip this up in the time it takes to boil the water for your pasta.  Of course, you need some really flavourful tomatoes. You can find some great old-fashioned tomato varieties at most nurseries if you're up for growing your own, or you can buy a mix of tomatoes at a farm market (or even at the grocery store).  This is a great use for ugly or less-than-perfect tomatoes since you chop them all up anyway.  The inspiration for this recipe comes from pasta genius Ross Patterson, aka The Noodle Guy.  Ross worked as a waiter in the early days of Union Street Cafe but he couldn't keep his nose out of the kitchen and we just loved him for it.  If I remember correctly, his version included a touch of anchovy. 

What makes this particular sauce so unusually delicious is that the tomatoes are essentially raw.  Barely cooked by the heat of the pasta, their sensual flavours bloom.  When I made this for myself last week, I added some fresh herbs that I collected by flashlight from my ridiculously overgrown garden and left out the anchovies because I didn't have any.  Locally grown, quality garlic will certainly make this all the better.

 This time last year: Grilled Summer Vegetables

Heirloom Tomato Pasta for 2

1 lb. mixed ripe Tomatoes, cut in 1" pieces (halve any cherry tomatoes)
2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 t. Salt
1 juicy clove minced Garlic
2 T. slivered Red Onion
2 T. chopped fresh Basil
2 T. chopped fresh Parsley
1/2 of a 375 g. box Whole Wheat Spaghetti or Spaghettini
Freshly ground Pepper and Parmesan Cheese, for serving

Combine the tomatoes, oil, salt, garlic, onion and herbs in a bowl.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta.  Cook until just tender, then drain.  Put the tomato mixture into the still-warm pot, then add the hot pasta.  Return to the turned off burner for a moment before tossing the whole glorious mess together.  Divide between bowls, adding generous grinds of pepper and Parmesan cheese to each serving.


  1. The whole glorious mess... ha! I definitely prefer fresher tomato sauces over the the long-stewed types. Your recipe is the perfect way to enjoy the flavours of ripe produce without hours of prep. So quick and satisfying! Am trying out my new pasta roller (!) tonight, and have a bunch of heirlooms from my auntie's garden, so I may be giving this a try!

    PS - I picture your every food creation being made in your heartbreakingly lovely kitchen now. Sigh.

  2. I prefer raw foods to cooked every time. This is a wonderful recipe that appeals just as well to family members who don't share that preference. Bravo!

  3. Glad you liked it! There's nothing like tomatoes in season. I made it last night for supper and added a little feta and some leftover roasted peppers....mmm...


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