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!
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.