It seems like summer recipes are all over the Internet now. And the highlight ingredient of all those colourful sun soaked vegetables has to be the bright as sunshine tomatoes. I even saw an article on the Hwacheon tomato festival in South Korea, where everyone celebrates the harvest of this rotund fruit. Imagine kids jumping into pools of tomato juice, for fun, yup. Exactly.
While we enjoy summer all year round, we don’t get the fun or abundance of picking fruits and vegetables in the backyard, throwing the excess for a tomato spa party. We do get a better selection of fruits and vegetables in the market (my mum’s explanation that the warmer the weather, the better the harvest). So we have been getting pretty sweet (imported) watermelons, cherries and better looking vegetables. Yes, there are good looking vegetables that I can’t help but admire and end up buying.
I so love the simplicity of this dish. Brings food back to the basic taste. Ok, canned tomatoes were used but that’s hardly the point. These tomatoes worked really well. Right. I can’t imagine if we had ready access to farmers market.
Recipe (serves 3)
90g white cheese (I used a Danish one. Feta, mozzarella or even Brie will be great as well.)
1 can chopped tomatoes (use a good Italian brand such as Cirio, just 20% more exp, but 200% better than Hunt’s)
12 fresh cherry tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
Mince garlic, add to a pot with some oil and fry over low heat.
Pluck the basil leaves and throw the (large) stalks into the pot.
Pick about 12 nice basil leaves and set aside.
Shred or chop the remaining basil leaves and add to the pot. Give the basil and garlic a quick stir. Keep a keen eye on them. At the faintest hint that the garlic is beginning to brown, add the canned tomatoes. Stir. Half fill the can with tap water and add to the pot. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.
Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook for 3 mins less than the stated time on the packet.
Meanwhile, slice the fresh cherry tomatoes into halves and add to the simmering tomato sauce. Control the fire such that the sauce will reduce and thicken slightly at the time the spaghetti is ready.
Use a pair of tongs to transfer the spaghetti to the pot of sauce. Add a ladle of spaghetti cooking water to the sauce (important!). Toss the spaghetti in the sauce. Bite into one spaghetti to make sure it’s cooked. If not, let it simmer in the sauce for one more minute or so, adding pasta cooking water if necessary.
Plate the spaghetti, slot in small chunks of cheese and basil. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, good sea salt and freshly grounded pepper.