What’s For Dinner? Summertime, Summertime!

  This article appears in the Summer 2024 issue


Summertime, Summertime!

By Melody Tierney

Nothing screams summer like a bowl full of tomatoes freshly picked from the garden. New England comes alive in the summer with a plethora of vegetables spilling out of their baskets at the local farm stands and farmers markets. Finally, the farmers reap the benefits of all their hard work, and we enjoy the fruits of their labor. Each month brings with it a new crop—starting with strawberries in June and by August, juicy tomatoes, fragrant basil, and colorful peppers. Many of today’s vegetables are indigenous to the Connecticut River valley such as corn, peas, squash, beans, and pumpkins. Tomatoes reportedly arrived in the colonies in the 18th century by way of South and Central America.

So let’s celebrate the summer’s bounty with a spectacular summer pasta served as a side or as the main event. One could also add a protein to the mix such as steamed lobster or grilled chicken. Any combination of vegetables could also be incorporated. Toss in some grilled corn, squash, or brightly colored peppers to make a pasta primavera. Or keep it simple with vibrant tomatoes and fragrant basil.

Summer Garden Pasta
1 pound pasta, such as farfalle, penne, or capellini—your choice!
1 quart of cherry tomatoes, halved
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup large basil leaves, julienned, and extra for serving
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese

Combine the cherry tomatoes (you can also use large tomatoes cut into chunks) with 1/2 cup olive oil, basil, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for up to 4 hours—the longer the better!

When you are ready to serve, cook pasta until al dente in a large pot of boiling water with 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Follow the pasta box directions for al dente.

Drain the pasta and pour into the bowl of tomatoes and toss. Add the cheese and some additional fresh basil leaves. Toss to combine well, adding more cheese if desired.

This simple combination of tomatoes and olive oil can be adjusted to make a delicious bruschetta. Simply small-dice any tomato, squeezing out seeds if using large tomatoes. Add in some olive oil, lemon juice, julienned basil, salt, and pepper. Serve on toasted baguette slices which have been rubbed with fresh garlic while still warm. Yum!

Image Credit: Getty Images/Daniela Baumann.
Melody Tierney is an avid foodie and enjoys sharing her passion with others. A former bed and breakfast owner in Southampton, New York, she and her husband Phil were featured as an Inn of the Month in Travel and Leisure magazine.
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