Dry Farm Tomato Pasta
While the beginning of summer is filled with delicious stone fruit and berries, the end brings tomatoes. Of all the varieties available my favorite are the ones that have been dry farmed.
Dry farming is a technique that involves significantly less water. For tomatoes that means withholding irrigation once the roots of the plants are established. The volume of fruit that the plants produce is less than with traditional farming but it results in a much more intensely flavored and sweeter tomato.
They can be found at Whole Foods and often at farmer’s markets. We love these and wait all year for them. In fact we won’t make tomato soup with anything else.
Because they are so sweet they make an amazing, simple sauce. The following is a recipe my dad developed that we make every year around this time. Serve it on angel hair pasta with spaghetti, fresh basil, and some grated Parmesan Cheese for a delicious end of summer meal.
8 small tomatoes (if large ones are available you only need one per person, but they are usually small)
2 tablespoons butter
A dash of olive oil
Fresh Basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Angel Hair Pasta or Spaghetti
Grated Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
Skin the tomatoes – if you don’t care about tomato skins in your pasta (I don’t) you can skip this step. Remove the step top of each tomato by cutting a cone shaped piece out of it. Stick a small paring knife into the top of the tomato about .25 inches from the stem top, angled into the center and cut in a circle around the stem top. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Put each tomato, one at a time, into the boiling water for 45-60 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and hold under cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel the skin from the tomato and discard. Set the peeled tomato aside.
Chop the tomatoes in half, then in half again, then one more time – into 8 pieces. Set aside in a bowl.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta as directed on package. For 4 people we usually cook about half a one pound package. Use as much as you desire.
Using an 8-10” skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil until it is bubbling. Add the chopped tomatoes. Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes form a soupy sauce. If you like it thicker you can cook it a little longer, but watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
While the sauce is cooking drain the pasta and toss in a large bowl with a pat of butter.
Pour the cooked sauce onto the pasta and toss. Add the chopped basil to the top and serve.
Serve with grated Parmesan cheese so that people can add as much or as little as they want.
Do you have a favorite tomato recipe?