Words & photography by Jessica Comingore
Every summer as the heirloom tomatoes start to pop up at the local farmer’s market, this recipe gets dug out of my cupboard, usually for the season’s first potluck I host with friends. It was always a favourite of mine growing up (what kid doesn’t enjoy a hefty plate of pasta and mozzarella?) and still remains a go-to now that I’ve come into my own in the kitchen. Because it’s such a simple set of ingredients, I try to buy them all at their best quality; farmer’s market tomatoes, mozzarella (or brie if you’re feeling decadent) from the local cheese shop, freshly picked basil from my garden, and the fanciest bottle of olive oil I can get my hands on. When these four ingredients are done well, it makes for the most harmonious of flavour pairings.
4 ripe large tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes (can use brie here too) 1 cup cleaned, fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup best quality olive oil
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs linguine
freshly grated parmesan cheese
At least 2 hours before serving, combine the tomatoes, cheese, basil, garlic, olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside, covered, at room temperature.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Add the linguine and boil for around 8-10 minutes until tender.
Drain the pasta and immediately toss with the fresh tomato sauce. Serve at once, passing the peppermill and grated parmesan cheese, if you like.