• Posted by Susan Troccolo on September 16th, 2008, 4:32 PM

    This is one of my favorite recipes for fresh heirloom tomatoes and basil right from the garden. Everything about it is fresh and light and speaks of summer. The tomatoes are not cooked, they are sliced warm right from the garden, so the dish is quick—once the pasta is al dente, no dilly-dallying. The tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella go into the warm pasta, and buon appetito! All the colors stay bright and beautiful.

    The heirloom tomatoes used in this recipe (and in the picture) are: Black Prince, Amana Orange, Brandywine, and Orange Jubilee. The two golden varieties, especially the Orange Jubilee, are wonderful in this dish. They are a classic balance of sweetness and acidity, have great texture and lots of juice. The Black Prince I use for its gorgeous purple/red color. For basil, I like the variety Genovese. It is one everybody knows: extra-large dark green leaves, very fragrant and a classic basil flavor. When choosing your fresh mozzarella, you don’t need to spend the extra money for the mozzarella di bufala (buffalo milk mozzarella). Save that for those caprese salads where the mozzarella really needs to show off! In this recipe, the mozzarella di bufala would melt and become so soft you wouldn’t appreciate its texture.

    Ingredients

    Serves 4

    6 quarts of water
    3-4 tablespoons salt
    1 pound linguini
    4-5 large heirloom tomatoes
    Sea salt
    1 large bunch basil
    1 pound fresh mozzarella

    Put the water and salt on to boil.
    Add linguini to the boiling water and cook al dente. You will know your pasta is ready when a strand of pasta tossed-—with an air of gay abandon–sticks to your wall or ceiling.

    While the pasta is cooking, roughly chop the tomatoes and set them in a bowl with some fine sea salt and toss gently so they begin to release their juice.

    Add the basil leaves, keeping them either whole or in large pieces.

    Chop the fresh mozzarella into bite-sized pieces and set aside. (You can use bocconcini–small round balls—if you have a hankering for symmetry and order—just make sure they are super fresh!)

    When the pasta is done, drain well. Put the pasta back into the warm pan, but do not turn on the flame. Immediately add the fresh tomatoes and basil and toss lightly.

    Add the mozzarella to this mixture and continue to toss. The mozzarella will begin to melt just a little. Serve immediately.

    When Susie Troccolo is not planting, staking, feeding, suckering or harvesting something in her Portland, Ore., garden, she loves to play bluegrass and blues guitar, walk her border collie, Fly, and write about planting and harvesting. Susie and Kate Dwyer have been buddies for 33 years.

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