Among the many reasons I look forward to summer, in-season tomatoes are probably in my top three. There is just truly nothing like a ripe tomato. Caroline eats them like apples, and I have to say, she's pretty smart for that. I've been itching to cook with them over the past few weeks, but they just aren't quite ready yet.
The beauty of this sauce however, is that grilling plum tomatoes enhances them, even if they are still a bit out of season. Grilling the tomatoes infuses them with that awesome smoky and charred flavor, so the sauce has a nice depth to it. It is also a very quick and simple recipe, and is ready pretty much in the time it takes to cook the pasta. I served this with the grilled bruschetta with prosciutto and mozzarella and side salads, and we felt like we were enjoying a preview to summer - fast, simple, delicious food.
Pasta with Grilled Plum Tomato Sauce
- 10 medium plum tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
- 4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
- 1 Tbs minced fresh parsley
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound pasta
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
Lay the tomatoes on a large baking sheet and brush with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Place the tomaotes on the grill and cook, turning once, until the flesh is streaked with dark grill marks and the skins are charred and blistered, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board and cool them slightly.
Meanwhile, salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente, and drain.
In a small skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat, and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until just fragrant and beginning to turn golden-brown, one to two minutes. Remove from heat.
Peel and discard the tomato skins, and chop the tomatoes. Transfer to a large bowl, and combine with the garlic and oil, basil leaves, parsley leaves, and salt and pepper to taste.
Toss the pasta with the tomato sauce and mix well. Divide evenly among serving plates, sprinkle with Parmesan, and serve immediately.
Source: adapted from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, by Jack Bishop