And for the next 5 pounds of tomatoes..
I grew up in a neighborhood called Rustic Canyon where every Monday night from Memorial Day to Labor Day, there is the famed “Monday Night Picnic.” Okay, it’s not famous. It’s a huge potluck at the park across the street from my parents’ house. Some weeks there are loads of families and friends and some weeks there are few. One of my very favorite Monday Night Picnic dinners is a pasta my mother makes with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. She does it in a way that I can’t say I see very often. The best part? Picking at it out of the fridge the next day. If you are going to make this, the only trick is- you have to have the very best ingredients. Do not attempt to make this with regular ol’ store bought tomatoes. The other special thing is that this it totally raw, no cooking of the tomatoes. Pouring the hot pasta onto the mixture causes the cheese to melt oh so perfectly.
Here is my gluten free version with raw cheese from Dos Lunas. The sad part is that as tasty as this brand of pasta is, it still just isn’t the same the next day. Sigh…
Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Raw Cheese
5 pounds medium sized tomatoes, good and fresh from your farmers’ market
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
handful of basil, chopped
6 oz raw milk cheese or hearty mozzarella, cubed
1/4 cup good fruity extra virgin olive oil
hefty sprinkle of salt and pepper
1 pound gluten free 100% corn spaghetti
Cut tomatoes along the equator and use your finger to get out most of the seeds. But don’t worry too much and leave some. Dice tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Chop garlic very finely and add to tomatoes. Add olive oil, a pinch or 2 of salt, and the cheese and basil. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1-2 hours.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to instructions. When done, drain noodles and reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Do NOT rinse pasta. Immediately toss pasta into bowl with tomato mixture and mix. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. If it seems too dry, or the cheese needs a little extra melting help, add the liquid 1-2 T at a time. Serve immediately.
There still is Monday Night Picnic. Everyone reading this is invited. Just bring something wonderful to share.