Fresh Tomato and Basil Spaghetti with Ricotta Salata
If I told you I make this at least once a week through the summer months, would you think I was kidding? I kid you not. This to me is summer on a plate. My memories of garden fresh tomato salads simply dressed with basil, salt, pepper and olive oil and served with fresh baked Italian bread for mopping up the juices brought me to this simple pasta dish. I cannot imagine this any fresher tasting, unless I made the pasta myself.
I’ve seen many versions of this dish; Maris (In Good Taste) recently did a similar no cook pasta sauce, and I’ve seen cheeses ranging from feta to parmesan to mozzarella. I prefer to use ricotta salata as the taste is very gentle and mild and does not distract from the aromatic fresh tomatoes. Recently I have switched to corn spaghetti instead of semolina or wheat. The corn spaghetti works amazingly well as it layers another dimension of flavor to this dish. Think of a fresh tasting corn, tomato, scallion and basil salad!
When I find a variety of heirloom yellow, orange and red tomatoes, the dish really pops with flavor and color! I prefer to not remove the tomato seeds as I don’t mind the appearance of the seeds and I like to have as much juice as possible in this “sauce”. A truly light, great tasting olive oil also works best since the olive oil’s flavor is not heated or altered in any way. The tomatoes are only marinated for about an hour; just enough time for me to change out of my work clothes, play with my pups, pour a glass of wine and get the pot of water boiling for the pasta. In that one hour, the flavors marry, the salt brings out more juice, the basil remains bright and a perfect fresh sauce is ready.
The “recipe” should be prepared based on the quantity to serve as this is not a dish that stands up well for leftovers. Therefore, based on appetite and guests, roughly chop up the tomatoes (about 2 small, 1 cup per person), seeds and all, season with chopped fresh basil, thinly sliced scallion (white part and just a bit of green), minced garlic (optional for raw garlic lovers), Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Drizzle on great tasting light olive oil and allow to marry and marinate for at least one hour, but no longer than 2, at room temperature. Pour the marinated tomatoes over just cooked al dente corn spaghetti, sprinkle on crumbled ricotta salata, adjust to taste with a finishing of freshly ground pepper, sea salt and a light drizzle of olive oil!
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.
Corn pasta…. haven’t seen it around yet… interesting.
I love ricotta salata fro this type of recipe, it’s such a great cheese, I buy it whenever I find it and probably end up nibbling on half of it before it goes into a recipe 😉
I found the corn pasta when I was seeking out gluten free ingredients. I’m not fond of most gluten free pastas, but corn spaghetti is really good! Btw, I nibble along on the cheese too!!
This looks perfect. I can rarely find ricotta salata. Do you think this would work with any other cheese?
Oh yes, mozzarello is good, feta for a greek twist or shaves of parmesan work as well!
Come on, tomatoes! Time to ripen…
I NEED to have this. Soon.
Lol! Soon you’ll be having more than you can use!!
I love fresh tomatoes in my pasta! I like how we all have our own little twist on this summer pasta recipe. What kind of corn pasta do you use? I’ve tried the quinoa corn blend…can’t think of the name brand of GF pasta but it’s not bad. I’m always looking to try new GF pasta, so far DeBoles GF brown rice is my favorite. Pretty photo of the recipe too!
Hi Lisa, I have to check at home which brand I used, but I love that the ingredients are simply – corn flour! I too have used the quinoa corn blend, which is good too.
Like you, I love using fresh tomatoes with my pasta. In the dead of Winter, I’ll use cherry tomatoes in a similar recipe, Pesto Trapanese. As you said, it’s “summer on a plate” and just what I need to remind me that the blizzard raging out my window is only temporary. And thanks for the tip about corn spaghetti. I’m going to look for it and give it a try.
I didn’t realize many people were not familiar with corn spaghetti. I actually find it at my Italian market; it’s simply made with corn flour, nothing else added. Great tip on the cherry tomatoes through the winter months..tho no blizards thankfully in Florida!!
Food, Flowers, Herbs and Life!
I love a fresh, no cook sauce – especially during the summer! This looks wonderful! Now that our tomatoes are starting to come in this will be supper one night!
I have to buy my fresh tomatoes at the market, I’d love to be able to just step outside and pick a few for this dish!
I love the idea of corn spaghetti – I’ve had a lot of gluten free pasta (which often is rather gluggy) so would love to try a corn veresion. It’s so hot in London right now, I’m keen to give this a try this week! It’s just too hot to cook anything properly.
I love this way of doing pasta in the summer – nothing beats the freshness of the flavours. Needs nothing more (well, a glass of wine, obviously!). Delicious…
Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
Every week? I could eat that every day. It really is summer on a plate.
nancy at good food matters
Our garden tomatoes are coming in fat and red and wonderfully flavored–I am in tomato heaven right now. I love the basic summer raw sauce on pasta. all the tastes are so pure, true. we’ve got to enjoy these beauties while they are here.
I’ve yet to try corn pasta–sounds perfect for summer.
I can definitely understand why you’d make this once a week during the summer. I’m sure I would too! This looks fresh and delicious. Heirlooms always add a nice touch, I agree. So yummy!
I love the grape size heirlooms with all their pretty colors!
Maris (In Good Taste)
Thanks so much for referencing to me! I think you did a fantastic job on this! It looks so delicious and your photos are terrific! This is topping my to do list now!
Thank you Maris! I always love your recipes!
That is such a summery dish!!! My mother in law makes a pasta fredda dish similar to yours!!! The difference is that she only adds tomatoes and basil. Your addition of ricotta salata is a very clever idea!! Bravissima!!!!
ooh… I love that name…. Pasta Fredda !!!
This looks great. I’ve never eaten corn pasta. Very interesting.
This is a wonderful, summery dish.
I agree, this is a summertime treat. There is nothing better than fresh tomatoes just warmed by the hot pasta.
Yum! Yum! Yum! Putting this on the menu for next week. 🙂 I’ve never used ricotta salata. I’m excited to try it. This looks so good and a meal that I think my kids will eat up too (well, they might pick off the tomatoes). So glad you shared this one. I can see why you make it once a week!
Yum! Love the ricotta!
corn pasta! Fun and exciting and so different than the usual. I love this recipe so much that I think I am going to do it for my parents tonight. They are coming in for a visit! My dad is obsessed with anything corn.