Summer Pasta

Summers are not the perfect time to slave over a hot stove. Recipes that limit the amount of actual cooking are real finds at this time of year. One pasta we have been making involves only a bit of boiling water to cook pasta and nothing else except chopping a few veg to make a fresh sauce and grating a little Parmesan. I read about it in a food magazine – which one, I can’t remember now – many many years ago. I’ve been making it ever since. In fact, the procedure has become ingrained in my cooking memory.

Tomato, Basil & Garlic Summer Pasta
Choose a pasta shape that will pick up the little chopped bits of tomato such as penne, cavatelli, rotini, conchiglie or fusilli. I use a Cretan shaped pasta called skioufikto (σκιουφικτό) similar to cavatelli. Also, use your best olive oil here as it will add to the flavour.

  • 1 large ripe tomato
  • 4-6 large basil leaves
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (in addition to the salt added to the cooking water)
  • EV olive oil
  • 250g pasta
  • Parmesan cheese

Chop the tomato into small pieces, keeping the juices and discarding any tough skin and core. Place in a bowl. Finely shred the basil leaves or cut into fine strips. Put this on top of the chopped tomato. Mash the garlic and sea salt with the broad side of your knife until it is a smooth pulp. The salt helps to breakdown the cellular walls of the raw garlic plus has the added benefit of mellowing its strong flavour and making it more digestible, something to keep in mind since the sauce is uncooked. Add the mashed garlic to the tomatoes and basil in the bowl. Mix and add enough olive oil just to cover. Put a plate over the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so before you heat up the water for the pasta. This allows the flavours to meld.

In a pasta pot with a good amount of salted water, bring to a boil. Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions for al dente. While the pasta is cooking, grate your Parmesan. Drain the pasta and do not rinse. Place the hot pasta in your serving bowl and pour in the fresh sauce. Mix and sprinkle on your cheese. The heat from the pasta will melt the cheese slightly and bring out the flavours of the oil and vegetables. Enjoy!


  1. I love this too and have been
    making it for years. Some cook told me to
    put the tomato mixture in the fridge for a few hours and then “shock” the hot
    pasta with the cold sauce.

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  2. You were right, Debi. our dishes were very similar. Then again, how much variance can there be when only 3 or 4 ingredients are used? No matter. It’s a great dish and perfect for tomato season. Oh, how I’m going to miss it as fall progresses into winter. (sigh))


    • We are still getting the last of the tomatoes here in Greece, but they aren’t the same as the ones from high summer. Soon, it will be those grown in poly tunnels from Crete which are okay, but nothing like the ones that are ripened by the sun.

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