Friday, July 22, 2011

TOMATO SALAD...pasta...7-22

Next to pasta, this is the most memorable dish from my mother’s kitchen. It was made with tomatoes grown in south Jersey soil in the ‘40s and ‘50s, before they were spoiled by agri-business’ genetic manipulations. The tomatoes from my father’s garden were the crown jewels of summertime; sadly, like so many childhood experiences, I took them for granted.

That was then. Today, despite the decline in flavor, tomato salad remains a favorite summer dish for me. Several years ago I began using it as the “sauce” for pasta (usually Rigatoni). I’ve posted variations of this previously…May 12, and June 20. Tonight’s dish is all about the simple, un-adorned salad, using tomatoes from Graves County that I purchased this morning at the Farmer’s Market.

The real delight in this dish is when the pasta and tomatoes are gone and you are looking at a dish filled with the most delightful juice…waiting for you to sop it up with a piece of thick Italian bread.


Fresh tomatoes…not Roma…cut into bite size pieces
Fresh Basil, oregano
Onion…several thin slices, chopped
Garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil
Rigatoni or shell pasta


1-2 hours before dinner prepare the salad. Place the tomatoes in a bowl, add about 2-3 tablespoons of water, about ¼ cup of olive oil, and the remaining ingredients…mix well, cover, and set aside. Do not refrigerate. (I prefer the tomatoes at room temperature.)

Place the cooked pasta in a bowl, add the tomato salad and mix well. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.


I cannot be objective regarding this dish…there are too many memories associated with tomato salad…all of them wonderful.

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