Seasonal Flavors: Summer Pasta

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Tomatoes should be ready to pick soon and there are so many ways to enjoy their juicy, flavorful beauty. This is a recipe for a fresh, uncooked sauce that you can whip up in the time it takes to boil the pasta water.

I got this recipe from my former laboratory colleague, Julie. I recently had a reunion celebration with a group of people who worked in the University of Virginia Clinical Immunology Laboratory in the 1970s and 80 s. In fact, the reunion took place nearly 40 years to the day from my first day on that job. Lab people are all great cooks because they know how to follow directions and they like to work with their hands. They also realize that a little experimentation can sometimes result in something novel and wonderful. Everyone who worked in that lab was a terrific cook and we enjoyed exchanging recipes.  

Julie didn’t join us for the reunion, but I remember her as one of the sweetest co-workers, and devoted to patient care. When she left the lab, she wrote me one of the best letters I ever received. And of course, she is a talented cook.

Here’s a beautiful way to enjoy those first tomatoes.

Summer Pasta

  • 1 lb pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1 lb tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup shredded basil leaves
  • 5 T. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)

While the pasta water is heating and the pasta is cooking, mix the other ingredients and toss with the finished pasta. Serves 6.

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