Summer is drawing to a close here in St. Louis. Yesterday and last night we were downright chilly, which means garden tomato season is coming to an end. I welcome the cooler weather, but I will miss garden tomatoes. We still have a few weeks until our first frost date, and our tomato plants are going strong, so we don’t have to give them up yet.
Pasta with Olive Oil Marinated Tomatoes highlights the sweetness of the summer tomatoes, contrasting them with slightly bitter olive oil and the nuttiness of Parmesan cheese. We make it year-round, using hothouse cherry tomatoes in the winter, but summer tomatoes make it the dish it was meant to be.
Despite the name, this dish is just about as easy as it gets. It is our emergency dinner dish when we forgot to plan anything, or we really don’t feel like cooking and don’t have the energy or the inclination to go out. We eat it as a main dish, but it would also be a great side dish to go with fish or chicken. You can add dollops of pesto, small cubes of mozzarella cheese or even diced, cooked chicken or shrimp to make it your own.
One word of advice – since the ingredient list is so short and each component really stands out, this is the place to use the best Parmesan cheese you can. We buy big wedges of Parmigiano-Reggiano at Sam’s, but you can also get tubs of shredded Parmesan or small wedges at the grocery store. Use what you can find, but at least skip the powder in the green can.
Pasta with Olive Oil Marinated Tomatoes
From The Cook’s Life
Use any pasta shape you like, from bowties to rotini to spaghetti. We like the nuttiness of whole wheat pasta, but regular pasta is good too.
2 medium tomatoes or two handfuls of cherry or grape tomatoes (½ pound approximately)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ pound dry pasta
Parmesan cheese, for serving
Start the water heating for the pasta. While the water comes to a boil, chop the tomatoes, or cut the cherry tomatoes in halves or quarters, depending on size. Place the tomatoes in a serving bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Serve hot pasta, topped with the tomato mixture. Add Parmesan cheese at the table. This reheats well, though it will be a slightly different dish, since the tomatoes will cook slightly when you heat it.