An heirloom tomato is an heirloom plant, an open-pollinated (non-hybrid) cultivar of tomato. Heirloom tomato cultivars can be found in a wide variety of colors, shapes, flavors and sizes. Some cultivars can be prone to cracking or lack disease resistance. As with most garden plants, cultivars can be acclimated over several gardening seasons to thrive in a geographical location through careful selection and seed saving.
An in-season tomato outshines all others at any other time of the year. Between now and the end of autumn, heirloom tomatoes are in abundance at our local Greenmarkets. What better way to enjoy them than in an uncooked tomato sauce? I can think of no less than five versions — variations on a theme, really, with only the slightest of differences — of an uncooked or raw tomato sauce. Simplicity is my constant companion; her unseen hand, a gentle and welcomed restraint.
Spinach tagliolini pasta with uncooked heirloom tomato sauce
Use only the freshest, ripest tomatoes that you can find. Resist the temptation to throw together everything you can possibly think of. For this dish to work, you want to use the least amount of ingredients available. Each forkful should be a delicious reminder of the star of the show.
Approximately 1 pint heirloom tomatoes, diced, quartered or chopped coarsely, depending on size
1 shallot, peeled, trimmed and minced
a pinch of sea salt
a pinch of freshly milled black pepper
1 tablespoon capers
at least 1/4 cup good-quality extra virgin olive oil
fresh pasta (in the picture above, I used spinach tagliolini (a variety of tagliatelle that is long and cylindrical in shape, instead of long and flat))
Bring 2 cups of water in a saucepan to a boil. Add the tagliolini pasta and cook for 2-4 minutes or until the pasta reaches your desired consistency. Try not to overcook. Drain and set aside.
Make the sauce while the pasta cooks. Combine heirloom tomatoes, shallots, herbs, sea salt, black pepper, capers and olive oil in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly so that ingredients are well-blended.
Fold the cooked pasta into the tomato sauce. Mix well. Taste for salt and pepper, spoon pasta into warmed pasta bowls, then serve at once.
Time: 20 minutes, including prep.
And thus does another Presto Pasta Nights event come to a close … but before I sign off, here are some other delicious pasta dishes to whet your appetite:
First up is Ruth of Once Upon A Feast who offers Spring is in the Air Pasta, a beautiful and whimsical dish involving various spring greens and chive flowers reminiscent of the Dr. Seuss character Horton Hears a Who.
Our next entry is Shelby of The Life & Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch with her Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Spinach, a lovely dish that was full of flavor and one that is on her short list of healthy shrimp and pasta dishes to make.
Fourth is Shaheen of Allotment 2 Kitchen, a seasonal vegetable blog based in Wales, in the United Kingdom. I know I’m going to be an instant fan, as I dearly love the UK. Shaheen’s entry is Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta, which combines what is essentially a quick tomato confit, together with onion, olives and cucumber into a tasty and flavorful lovely little dish.
Next is Joanne of Eats Well With Others with her Pesto Pasta Salad with Roasted Aparagus, String Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, and Olives. It’s a colorful and delicious pasta salad loaded with seasonal spring and summer vegetables that will leave you clamoring for more.
Finally, I have two entries — the spinach tagliolini pictured above, and an entry I posted earlier in the week, Penne with Kale, Heirloom Tomatoes, Garlic and Lemon Zest. Kale is one of my favorite greens; its leaves have a gorgeous beauty unmatched by almost no other vegetable. Cooked with olive oil, garlic and lemon in the style of Tuscany, its texture becomes almost silken which makes it a perfect accompaniment to penne or other cooked pasta.
Next week, Presto Pasta Nights is hosted by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast. Thank you, Ruth, for the opportunity to host and for your support.