Summer on a Plate

by Cate on July 17, 2008

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.

P.P.S.  With the star ingredient of basil, it seems only natural that this post get sent off to Kalyn’s Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted by Archana’s Kitchen this weekend.

Tomato-Basil Pasta Salad
Recipe courtesy of Family Circle magazine (8/08)

Serves 8

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.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria July 18, 2008 at 9:02 am

I have to try this one. Tomatoes, basil, and pasta are three of my favorite things.

Is there anything you would add to make it a “wow” dish?


Kalyn July 18, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Too much basil is what my mother used to call “a good problem to have!” My basil is growing like a weed this year too. It’s a good year for basil!


Jan July 19, 2008 at 8:41 am

I make something very similar and add feta cheese and chopped kalamata olives, along with shrimp if I’ve got it. My current pasta of choice is the tri-color farfalle (bow-ties).


leslie July 19, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Wow..this looks so fresh and lovely!


autumn July 19, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Looks wonderful. Thanks for posting the recipe.


Katie July 19, 2008 at 10:33 pm

Yum! That looks wonderful.

You have a great blog!


Jane July 20, 2008 at 1:22 am

I just started an herb garden this year, & my basil is growing like weeds too. Thanks for this recipe, I’ll try it!


Cate July 20, 2008 at 9:40 pm

Maria – perhaps if something like shrimp or chicken were added, that might help. :)

Kalyn – I couldn’t agree more. Basi in the store is expensive, so I’m happy our plants are so healthy!

Jan – that version sounds delicious!

Leslie, Autumn, Katie and Jane – thanks!


Nevin Harrison July 25, 2008 at 8:38 am

I am looking for a recipe. I think it was in Feb.08 issue. The name of the recipe is Cherry Carmel Bars. I had it, made it, loved it and lost it. Can you help. Thanks much. Nevin


Jan July 25, 2008 at 4:46 pm

oh, I forgot to mention that I put canned (unmarinated) artichoke hearts in my salad.
(how is it that I always forget an ingredient? until I actually make it?)


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