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Summer is tomato time and where we come from, you eat tomatoes when the tomato eating is good. This dish was made for tomato time when dead-ripe tomatoes, basil, garlic and pasta could be dinner at your house every night.

It’s that easy: Slice tomatoes with a serrated knife. Then, once sliced, lay the tomato flat and cut them down into cubes with the tender flesh up and skin side down.

Fresh Summer Pasta with Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil and Buttery Croutons

2 large tomatoes, diced, about 4 cups
2 cloves garlic, minced,
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flake
Freshly ground black pepper
16 oz fresh fettuccine (I use Ohio City Pasta from the cold case)
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
3 cups crumbled Orlando Ciabatta Asiago Parmesan Crostini

Fill a large pot with about 3 quarts of water and bring it to a boil, covered over high heat.

Combine the tomato, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the olive oil, vinegar, red pepper flake and a few grinds of black pepper in a large bowl and toss it all together.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to the boiling water along with the fettuccine and cook the pasta, uncovered according to the package directions or until it is al dente and cooked through to the center. To check for doneness, take out out a strand and bite into it. It should still be chewy, but not tough. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and reserve it then drain the pasta in a strainer in the sink. Immediately return the pasta and 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the hot pot and toss in the tomato mixture, mixing to coat it with the seasonings. Mix in the basil and baguette slices and stir to incorporate them into the mix. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, pepper flake, balsamic, olive oil or basil to your taste. If it seems dry, mix in a little more pasta water.

Mound the pasta onto four heated plates and eat with reckless abandon. The pasta cools really fast and the croutons get soggy, so eat it quickly.

Still Hungry? A small salad of arugula dressed with a splash of vinegar and a glug of olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese would go nicely with all the basil in the pasta. You could even toss in a few olives if you have them.

In the glass: If you haven’t tried one lately, this dish is a great excuse to try a dry, crisp Rosé. Look for Cȏtes du Rhȏne Rosé for E. Guigal. It has a crisp acidity but with enough fruit to complement the tomatoes and enough spice to stand up to the garlic.

Serves 4

Download Recipe PDF  |  Recipe courtesy of Carla Snyder

Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sinkful of dishes. Look for Carla on Facebook, Twitter (carlacooks), Pinterest and at ravenouskitchen.com where she blogs about everything from cooking for two to easy weekend entertaining for a crowd.

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HEINEN'S

We're Heinen's Grocery Stores, a Cleveland, OH based family-owned grocery store established in 1929. Focused on quality meats, fresh market produce and superior customer service, we make grocery shopping something to smile about.