Sara Moulton pairs tomato, goat cheese for fast, fresh summer pasta
Use whole-grain pasta like wheat, kamut or spelt. If you’re gluten-intolerant, swap in quinoa, brown rice or buckwheat (a grass).
By SARA MOULTON
This is the perfect dish for a weeknight dinner in late summer, particularly as kids start heading back to school and family schedules get crazy. The recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients that can be pulled together in the time it takes to boil water.
Tomatoes play a key role, as they should be this time of the year. A fresh local tomato at the height of ripeness is one of those things that make life worth living.
They don't even need to be cooked. Instead, salt them lightly, which intensifies the flavor and pulls out some liquid. This "tomato juice" becomes part of the sauce.
After the tomatoes have marinated in salt for 10 minutes, season them with freshly grated lemon zest, a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil (use the really good stuff) and freshly ground black pepper.
Reach for the goat cheese next. Combined with hot pasta and a little of the pasta cooking liquid, the cheese melts into a creamy sauce without additional thickener. Finish with a liberal sprinkling of herbs.
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FAST AND FRESH SUMMER PASTA
3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (about 1-inch pieces)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 ounces fresh goat cheese (full fat), crumbled
8 ounces whole wheat penne or fusilli pasta
1 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, basil, oregano, mint, dill, chives, cilantro and tarragon)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl toss the tomatoes with a few hefty pinches of salt and some black pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes, then add the lemon zest, oil and goat cheese and toss well.
Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir and cook according to package instructions until just al dente. Drain the pasta (it's fine to have some water still clinging to the pasta), then add it to the bowl. Toss until the cheese is melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the pasta between 4 serving bowls, then sprinkle each portion with some of the herbs. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information per serving: 360 calories (110 calories from fat, 31 percent of total calories), 12g fat (6g saturated, 0g trans fats), 15mg cholesterol, 51g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 5g sugar, 17g protein, 390mg sodium.