My basil in the garden has been growing like crazy and it’s all I can do to keep up with it. It’s almost like every time I snip a handful, twice as much springs up in its place. But this is what I call a First Class Problem. I love the aroma and taste of fresh basil … it screams summer almost as much as a juicy red tomato, so this is a good problem to have.
In the interest of keeping my kitchen cool in the 90+ degree weather we’re having lately, I made a new recipe from the August issue of Family Circle magazine … Tomato-Basil Pasta Salad. Thirty minutes from start to finish, it truly is summer on a plate, taking full advantage of the very best the season has to offer.
Is it a wow? No. But it is a simple salad that will keep your kitchen cool, and may even use ingredients you have on hand (it did for me). Nicholas goes back and forth on tomatoes. Some days he’ll eat them, other days he won’t. Knowing that and wanting to avoid a dinnertime argument, I saved some of the cooked pasta on the side for him and tossed it with a little bit of butter, something he’s had countless times before. Except tonight he tells me he doesn’t like butter. Sure. I think it was just the fact that it hadn’t all melted yet and he wasn’t used to seeing it. I told him his only other option was the salad I made, and lo and behold, he dug in, even eating the basil. In the past, he carefully picks the basil out of any recipe and leaves it on the side. I think the fact that we’re growing the basil ourselves and he’s been watering it regularly with me had a huge impact on him and that makes me happy. A wonderful lesson for him.
So there you go … Summer on a Plate and Kid-Approved. What more could you want?
P.S. And just so I don’t have to worry about you all eating tomatoes that you shouldn’t be … be careful which ones you’re eating. I just read an article that vine-ripe tomatoes are a-ok (as are cocktail and grape tomatoes), so that’s what I used tonight. Now I can sleep easy.
Tomato-Basil Pasta Salad
Recipe courtesy of Family Circle magazine (8/08)
3 large ripe tomatoes (about 1-1/2 lbs), coarsely chopped (3-1/2 cups)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1 t minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
12 oz fusili pasta (or your favorite kind)
1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into think strips
Put tomatoes, onion, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano in a large bowl; toss. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes or until tomatoes release their juices, tossing occasionally. Cook pasta as package directs. Drain and add to bowl with tomatoes; lightly toss. Let come to room temperature. Add basil, toss. Serve or refrigerate up to 1 day.
Nutritional stats per serving: 242 calories, 3 g fiber, 8 g fat.