Since the tomatoes we’ve been getting from the farmers’ market are so perfect right now, I wanted to make a recipe that showcased them, so on Monday I dove into the good old Pasta e Verdura and gave this one a try. It’s kind of a common-sense recipe; I feel like I could have made some pesto and put it on pasta with some tomatoes on my own, but then of course I never did, so maybe I shouldn’t go dissing Jack Bishop. This may not have given me any new taste sensations, but it was fresh, tasty, easy, and extremely quick—perfect for a hot day. Plus, I like making food that’s bright green.
FYI, I noticed Jack’s directions can often be streamlined a lot. He wanted me to cut up all the tomatoes, put them in a large bowl, make the pesto, put in a smaller bowl, mix cheese into it, and then put the pesto in the larger bowl with the tomatoes. Not only does this get the cutting board all wet and tomatoey before I need to use it for the garlic and basil, but it employs a totally unnecessary extra bowl. Maybe Jack has an intern who washes his dishes for him, but I just have A. So instead I worked on the pesto first.
Postscript, December 2009: I never made this again. It wasn't that special.
4 medium tomatoes (about 1½ pounds)
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves (this is a lot of basil—I used two entire bunches from the farmers’ market)
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons pine nuts
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste
1 pound linguine or other long, thin pasta
1. Put 4 quarts of salted water in a large pot for cooking the pasta, and heat it to a boil on the stove.
2. Put the basil, garlic, and pine nuts into a blender or food processor. Get them ground as much as possible, then add the oil and blend until you have a smooth pesto.
3. Scrape the pesto into a bowl (ideally, this should be “large enough to hold the cooked pasta,” but don’t fret if it isn’t—it really just needs to hold the pesto and tomatoes) and stir in the cheese, plus “salt to taste” (I went with ½ teaspoon, and that seemed about right). I also added a few grindings of pepper, because apparently I’m a pepper junkie.
4. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
5. Wash and core the tomatoes, cut them into half-inch cubes, and put them in the bowl with the pesto. When the pasta is done, drain it. If your bowl is big enough, pour the pasta into it and mix everything up; if not, do what I did and pour the pasta back into the empty pot and then add the contents of the bowl. Mix well and serve.
Time: 20 minutes