Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Naturally Addictive Summer Candy

I couldn't take it any more. The complete and utter destruction, the casualties climbing, victims rotting forsaken on the ground and slowly seeping out their remains while their skin slowly shrivel and wither away in the scorching sun. Yes, dear readers, I am talking (yet again) about the poor, grey wasteland of a garden that I am ashamed to say is all that remains of this Spring's proud seedlings. Those beautiful tomatoes - just perfect for eating right off the vine like an apple, slicing up into salad or even simply spread on a plate with some salt and pepper - are under the "iron curtain" no-touch rule imposed by the "powers that be". So, alas... I have to watch (not to mention smell!) from my bedroom window as nobody fills the role I would have more than willingly filled. Picking, weeding, watering, pruning... all those tasks I was more than willing to perform this Summer, but instead I've been all but shackled (with the few, rare exceptions that bred some delicious tomato salads and even some Ninja-esque salsa!).

But I couldn't, and wouldn't, take it any more. I had to do something, even if it was just so I could get my personal fix! Honestly - more than any other garden produce we've ever grown, cherry tomatoes in particular are the one thing I crave from the moment the tiny fruits start appearing on the vines until well after the frost has fallen and there's no hope for any new ones for another year. I eat them off the vine like the candy that nature intends them to be. I dry them for winter storage. I freeze them for later sauce making. I even add pieces of slightly damaged cherries to sauces and chili without bothering to peel them at all! Not to mention that their naturally self-contained bubbles of Summer would be fabulous in an application as unique as Thunder Cake.

So the last say of my Summer vacation, while the [step]parentals were out, I pulled my Ninja trick once again and filled a relatiely small bowl with bright red, full-to-bursting with juice marbles of tomatoey goodness. I already had a fairly solid idea of what I would do with them too: a perfect end of the season pasta filled with bites of ever so slightly charred, roasted tomato, fresh basil (again from my own garden!) some rice-based spaghetti and a decadent knob of (fairly) local goat's cheese. And I wasn't disappointed in the least! The cheese melts just enough to meld seamlessly with the sugary-sweet, hot juices from the burst tomatoes, and together the sauce forms a gauzy blanket over a bed of pasta before being showered with a chiffonade of bright green herbage. Like the second time (in a week, no less!) that I made this recipe, it's even better if you toss a very al-dente cooked vegetable like broccoli into the pan sauce and pasta mixture and allow the flavours to soak into each other and the denser plant fibres.

I still can't believe that I was able to write this post without seriously drooling on my keyboard - just looking back at the few photos I snapped pre-bite is sending me into another craing cycle! I hope the readers at Ruth's Presto Pasta Nights round up (hosted by The Crispy Cook (AKA Rachel) feel the same!

Summer's Candy Pasta
Serves 2
10 oz cherry tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 tsp lemon juice
4 oz whole wheat pasta (short cuts work best, like rotini)
5-6 leaves fresh basil, chopped
3 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Preheat oven to 375F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Wash cherry tomatoes, then toss with salt and pepper while still wet.
  3. Place on the sheet with the garlic and roast for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss with lemon juice and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  5. Add pasta and cook to al dente.
  6. Drain, reserving a quarter- to half-cup of cooking water, and return to the pot.
  7. Add basil, cheese and tomatoes with enough of the pasta water to make it slightly saucy, stirring well.
  8. Divide pasta between bowls and serve with additional black pepper if desired.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 338.2
Total Fat: 10.6 g
Cholesterol: 38.0 mg
Sodium: 165.3 mg
Total Carbs: 51.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.7 g
Protein: 15.1 g


  1. Yum yum. Thanks for sending some of summer's candy over to Pasta Presto Nights! I have the same garden woes going on in upstate New York. We got blighted early on with all that damp, cool Spring weather. At least we didn't have to water our garden too much. Small consolation.

  2. It does sound trully wonderful. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

    And since I've been neglegent, I'll do some back reading through your blog to figure out why you've been banned from the garden.

  3. Ours don't even make it into a dish they just get eaten fresh off the vine every day with lunch

  4. oh wow...wish someday i would have garden like yours where endless tomatoes grow...ur pasta with veg fresh out of garden looks tempting..

  5. Ripe cherry tomatoes are DEFINITELY candy-esque. I pop them as if they were gumdrops. Delightful.

  6. The pasta dish looks so tasty and healthy!!


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