This past summer I made a point of attending the Saturday morning Farmers Market wherever we happened to be staying. One rainy Saturday morning my son and I went to the Saturday Farmers Market in Portland, OR. One thing I have noticed in my travels: the best Farmers Markets all have one thing in common — a good vibe. Although it was raining, the atmosphere was festive and friendly. The stalls were all very seductive and we were hard put to rein in our impulse to buy everything we saw. But, truth be told, we came for the heirloom tomatoes. The colors are gorgeous, of course, but the taste is transforming. That evening, we treated them with the respect they deserved and prepared them simply: first, as a topping for some bruschetta we had as an appetizer, and then for a simple side dish, we arranged sliced tomatoes on a platter, drizzled with good olive oil and sprinkled with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Some days later, I was happy to get my hands on a few more of these babies and put them to good use in the following pasta dish. As every good cook knows, a sauce can only be as good as the ingredients used to prepare it.
- 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
- 2 very small zucchini, sliced thinly and halved (optional)
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finished topping
- 1/4 tsp. of crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped basil
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsely, 1 Tbs. reserved for finished topping
- 1/2 pound linguine
- 1/2 c. pasta water reserved
- 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Warm olive oil over low heat in a medium skillet. Add the garlic and shallots and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for a few minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, zucchini, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped basil and parsley to the pan. Stir to incorporate and set aside.
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package instructions. Drain pasta and add to the skillet. Over low heat, toss pasta with the sauce. If pasta seems dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water.
- When the pasta is well-coated with sauce, turn off the heat and add the Parmesan cheese, tossing once more. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with more cheese, if desired.