While my daughter, in North Carolina, is making Kindergarten soup and enjoying the beginning of fall; here in California we are still experiencing very hot days (90+ degrees!)and it feels like summer.  I decided this called for another summer recipe. Many years ago a good friend of mine invited me for dinner and served a very simple pasta dish that was the best thing I had tasted all summer.  It was just fresh heirloom tomatoes, garlic, basil,  olive oil, penne pasta and a sprinkling of  fresh parmesan cheese.  The secret was letting the tomatoes, garlic and olive oil sit out in the sun to “marinate” for most of the day.  Over the years, I have added a few other ingredients but the basic “solar marinating” is always the same.  I have made this dish on camping trips with 16 hungry children and adults, taken it to dozens of potlucks, served it to my very picky meat-loving brother and it always gets rave reviews and requests for the recipe from children and adults.  I am now sharing my “Solar Summer Pasta” recipe with the world (well, the few people who actually read this blog!).


Basic Sauce Recipe:

 This serves about about 6 to 8 people as a main dish or 4 very hungry teenagers.  

6 to 8 medium to large heirloom tomatoes (if you can get some varieties that are yellow, striped and/or green, such as: Green Zebra, Marvel Stripe and Tangerine it will really be gorgeous) chopped into ½ inch pieces.

 ½ – 1 cup chopped fresh basil (more if you really love the taste of fresh basil)

4 or 5 large cloves of garlic, chopped

¼ – ½ cup good olive oil (for garlic lovers use garlic infused oil)

Mix all the above ingredients in a large glass/stoneware bowl (not plastic or metal), cover the top with plastic wrap and put bowl out in direct sun for at least 4 or 5 hours.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!

Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic & Olive Oil ready for the sun!
Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic & Olive Oil ready for the sun!


About ½ hour before serving, cook 1 box of penne pasta following the directions on the box

Optional Ingredients: ½ cup chopped Kalamata olives, ½ cup feta cheese, ½ cup FRESH mozzarella cut into small pieces.

¾ – 1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese ( NOT optional, unless you are vegan)

Drain the pasta well and put into a large bowl.

Add the olives, feta and mozzarella cheese so it melts into the pasta for a few minutes.

Pour the sun warmed tomato mixture over the pasta.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and dig in!

 Serve with a green salad and you have a simple and addicting summer meal.



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