By now, you know that home-grown, summer, vine-ripened, garden tomatoes are my favorite fruit of all time. Their sweet, acidic, juicy flesh is pure perfection just on their own. As I’m walking my garden, it’s impossible to resist popping one of the cherry tomatoes as I go about my duties. It truly is nature’s slightly acidic candy. In order to highlight the freshness of these glorious tomatoes, I decided to make the classic Italian dish, Pasta Pomodoro.
It’s worth it to spend the time growing tomatoes just for this dish alone. If you’ve ever thought about it, now is the time! I saw some dwarf tomato plants on sale at my local Sprouts just last week. Find a sunny spot for that bad boy, and you’ll have your own in no time.
I grew these varieties from seed, starting them at the beginning of the year to give them time to mature so they’d be ready when the heat hit our town. It takes a bit of planning, but it’s all worth it. I got these heirloom varieties from Baker Creek Seed Company, and we’ve got Green Zebra, Black Cherry, and Dark Galaxy varieties pictured here. Green Zebra had always been my favorite, but Dark Galaxy with it’s red flesh, and mixed black/red spotted skin has a great balance of acid and sweet.
The success of your garden tomatoes depends on consistent watering, regular fertilization, and pest control. You can buy fertilizer specifically for tomatoes from you local garden center, but I prefer to use my own compost. Once you get in the rhythm of putting your scraps on your countertop compost bin, and managing your outdoor compost pile, you’re on your way to creating your own nutrient-rich soil for literally no money at all.
For tips on how to compost, Earth Easy has a fantastic guide. I use this simple compost bin to handle my compost, and turn it every week. It’s magic to see your food scraps magically turn into usable dirt.
Basil is a great companion plant for tomatoes as well, as they attract pollinators to help pollinate your tomato flowers. Besides that, it’s well-known that the tomato/basil flavor combination is amazing. Pasta pomodoro is the perfect dish to showcase that!
Pasta Pomodoro (Fresh Tomato Pasta)
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil Extra Virgin
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Fresh, minced
- 4 Cups Tomatoes Fresh, diced
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 8 Ounces, weight Angel Hair Pasta
- ¼ Cup Basil Fresh
- 1 Cup Pine Nuts
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- Boil pasta in salted water, as per package directions.
- To a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, and garlic.
- Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add tomatoes and salt. Bring to a simmer, and heat through. Add lemon juice, and toss.
- When the pasta is done, drain, and add to the tomato mixture, tossing to coat.
- Add the pine nuts to a small pan, and continually flip until you start to see a bit of a golden brown toast on the nuts.
- Divide the pasta mixture among four bowls, top with pine nuts, and basil chiffonade.*
- To do a basil chiffonade, stack the basil leaves on top of one another, and roll, length-wise into a log. Then, with a chef’s knife, cut strips as thin as you can, making basil ribbons.