Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil

Tomatoes, tomatoes everywhere! I know it is a cliché but there really is nothing like a beautiful, juicy, ripe tomato in season. With the lousy spring and early summer that Vancouver had this year I am unsure as to where things are at in terms of the current local crop. Before we left I did see some tomato varieties starting to make their way to the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market but the ones I saw were still far from the gorgeous, sun-blushed, sensuous, bursting-with-ripeness beauties that usually make their appearance in late August.

Here in Florida I have yet to find the Farmer’s Market but the availability and selection of tomatoes at the grocery store just down the street is inspiring. We have greedily been devouring them every day. Max always takes a few grape or cherry tomatoes tucked in alongside his sandwich for school, but he only likes the red ones. We have made BLTs with thick slices of ripe beefsteaks, bread salads made with green zebras and gorgonzola, mixed tomato bruschetta to go on top garlic rubbed toasts. My favourite lunch these days is a grilled slice of country bread with Caspian Pink or Black Brandywine tomatoes, salsa verde with an additional drizzle of good olive oil over the top.

The thing with really good, ripe tomatoes is that the less you mess with them the better. Here is where this pasta “sauce” comes in. It is not a tomato sauce in the traditional sense as the only heat these tomatoes feel is when the hot pasta hits them. Still, it is enough to soften them just a bit, release some of their delicious juices without altering their inherent fresh flavour. Add in some garlic (that is allowed to steep in some olive oil for an hour or two) some fresh basil (lots of it if you are like me), some Parmesan (salty and nutty) and fresh mozzarella (creamy and tangy). Good grey sea salt, plus a few grinds of fresh ground pepper = perfection. Actually, if you serve this pasta alongside some arugula leaves that have be lightly dressed with a grainy mustard and walnut vinaigrette and a handful of toasted walnuts then it is even better than perfect.

Just one last thing before I get to the recipe… please don’t even attempt to make this with hard, pale, unripe winter tomatoes. It would simply suck.

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13 Responses to Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil

  1. My Irish grandfather was always very proud of the tomatoes he grew. Odd for a man from a country better known for potatoes.

    Looks good!


  2. Sarolta says:

    I want that tonight! Thanks for the inspiration! Now Ross can you go get some tomatoes?

    xo rolti

  3. Simple loveliness. I just love the scent of fresh basil. I’ve never steeped garlic in olive oil. Nice idea!

    And I couldn’t agree with you more, “the less you mess with them the better.” I just ate two Cherokee Purple tomatoes sliced over a plain piece of focaccia topped w/ nothing more than a drizzle of olive oil, pepper, and fleur de sel. Heavenly! I ate the slices that did not fit atop the focaccia by hand. Ripe figs and heirloom tomatoes are turning me into a barbarian.

  4. Leslie says:

    I can do this? Yes, I can!

  5. Lori Striegler says:

    Pale, hard unripe winter tomatoes….that is what my garden has and we are hours away from September!
    Have you made this recipe with Spaghetti Squash as I am always looking for the gluten free option? Hold the Mozzarella for Ryan and I and give it a go…miss you Lori xox

  6. David says:

    I say nothing beats a nice tomato except a big baked potato. Glad to see the Miami Kitchen is in high gear.

  7. Bonnie says:

    mmmmm, I’ve got loads of lovely tomatoes out in the garden, not quite ripe yet. Just need another week of sun, and I think I can call this year’s bounty a success. I can’t believe how many meals of tomatoes, bocconcini, and basil I’ve eaten in the last week. And bruscetta. This looks awesome. If I can convince the rest of my family to try those tomatoes raw (oh the horrors!) I think they’ll all love it. And if I say the recipe came from you, Jason will dig in for sure. 😉 He trusts what you can do with an uncooked tomato!

  8. Sheryl says:

    Oh, Yummm! Tonight’s dinner for sure, even the IGA has local heirlooms but the little Robert’s Creek Farmgate Market is the best source for me. I’m going to try some kind of brown rice noodle to keep it gluten free, or the spag squash that Lori suggests will be lovely too….

  9. gail monteen bourne says:

    Tonight is the night for Spaghetti/Fresh Tomatoes/Mozzarella/Basil. I have a big bowl of farmers market tomatoes and a great big bunch of fresh basil growing right outside on my patio. I’m having lunch today with the “other Julie Marr” here in Charlotte and I am taking a copy of the recipe to her. also I can’t wait to tell her about Max’s blog. She probably already knows about it since she has been a follow of yours for a long time. Have a great day!!!

  10. Ross and Rolti: I wish I was eating a big bowl of this with you guys right now. I miss you.

    Denise: My lunch today was very similar to yours. And for some reason those last few slices that are eaten out of hand are somehow always the best.

    Lori: I will try this with spaghetti squash soon. Thanks for the inspiration. So glad we have been able to have some good Skype chats. I miss you.

    David: Thanks Dad!

    Bonnie: So nice to hear from you. Next year I would love to stop over and check out your garden. I can just imagine how beautiful and bountiful it must be. Say hi to your very sweet husband for me.

    Sheryl: We need to get a Skype chat happening soon! Let me know how the brown rice noodle pasta works with this.

    Gail: Wow, I didn’t know that you know Julie Marr from Very Truly, Julie! Somehow even though we have never met I feel she is a kindred spirit and that if ever our paths did cross we would have lots in common, besides the same name! Please say hello to her from me. Thanks for being such a sweet commenter on Max’s blog, it always makes his day.

  11. gail monteen bourne says:

    Lunch with Julie Marr”Charlote” was wonderful today. We ate outside her office under two hugh Dogwood trees that are just starting to show a tiny bit of fall color. When I handed her the recipe she said “that’s what we had for dinner last night”. Love reading Max’s blog…what a JOY he must be.

  12. Tracy says:

    I know it’s only 7:30 in the morning, but I could really go for a heaping bowl…

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