This simple, healthy pasta dish makes the perfect summer meal when it’s just too hot to cook!
For years, I really dug in my heels about pasta with no-cook tomato sauce. It just looked so ho-hum to me. A bowl of plain pasta with some chopped tomatoes thrown in? How good could that be? I turned up my nose and never bothered to make it.
But this summer, for one reason or another, I cannot get enough tomatoes. Our counter is always overflowing with different varieties from our local farmstand: golden tomatoes, beefsteaks, heirlooms, and green zebras. I swear I could eat them like apples. Sometimes I just slice one up, sprinkle it with a completely outrageous amount of salt, and devour it over the kitchen sink.
This week it has been so hot–over 90 degrees and humid every single day. When the weather is like this, I’ll do just about anything to avoid turning on the oven and actually cooking dinner–even finally trying out that no-cook tomato sauce I had previously shunned.
Spoiler alert: I’m so glad I did 🙂
There are lots of different ways to make a no-cook tomato sauce. The most basic versions are just tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper. Just toss everything together and let it marinate while you cook the pasta. I wanted my sauce to have a little more complexity, so I added a whole host of other ingredients. Don’t worry! You probably have them all on hand, and if you are missing one, just leave it out. No-cook tomato sauce is nothing if not unfussy.
We had this for dinner on Monday night with a big arugula and strawberry salad, and it was pretty much the perfect late July meal. I am completely inept at cooking the correct amount of pasta (I always start out with the right amount, and then 10 seconds later add more to the pot “just in case” and end up with way too much). Normally we just toss the leftovers, but Alex loved this dish so much he insisted we keep the extra half-portion for snacking. And I must say, it is pretty good cold.
I realize that this is the second tomato-y dish I’ve posted this week. And guess what–I’ve got another one coming up on Monday. Hey, like I said, I’m obsessed. Sorry/not sorry 😉
- 1 1/4 pounds ripe, best-quality summer tomatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound dried whole wheat spaghetti
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- In a medium bowl, toss together the tomatoes, olives, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, anchovy paste (if using), and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the spaghetti and return it to the pot. Add the tomato sauce and 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Toss to combine. Add a little of the pasta water if the pasta seems to dry. Serve sprinkled with more Parmesan and fresh basil.