Meatless Monday – Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Tomato Pasta1

What could be easier than tossing warm pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil and olive oil?  This is a delicious NO COOK sauce that I have been making for ten years or so.  It is really delicious!   I no longer have the original recipe for this ‘sauce’ and usually only think about making it later in the summer when I have too many tomatoes on my windowsill on the verge of getting overripe. This recipe  is a great use for tomatoes that are a bit past their prime and starting to get a mealy texture. Of course, the better quality tomatoes, the more delicious the sauce but you can slip in an overripe tomato or two and it will work out just fine.  You can also add a few cherry tomatoes if you wish. I just use what I have on hand, but the more colorful the variety of tomatoes, the better.  Just dice the tomatoes, add a clove of minced garlic, sliced or chopped basil and oregano, drizzle with olive oil and let sit on the counter at room temperature for one to three hours.  All the flavors combine and transform raw tomatoes into a deliciously fresh sauce.  Sometimes I add fresh mozzarella for a Caprese type pasta or sprinkle with grated or shaved parmesan but it is just as good on its own.

Tomato Pasta12

There is some debate whether tomatoes are more nutritious raw or cooked.  Usually cooking vegetables reduces their nutritional value as vitamins are lost during the cooking process, however, it looks like tomatoes may be different.  Cooking tomatoes reduces the amount of vitamin C but may increase the amount of lycopene (a phytochemical with antioxidant properties) that can be absorbed by our bodies.  So I think its a toss up.  You can lightly sauté this sauce if you prefer but I love the simplicity of leaving it raw as nature intended.

TIP:  Garlic lovers beware!  For those of us who pile on the garlic, be forewarned.  Since this sauce is not cooked, the garlic does not mellow and sweeten the same way it does when cooked, so don’t use the same amount you would in a cooked sauce.

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 10 minutes cook time, 1 -3 hours sit time
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Tomato Pasta1

4 – 6 ripe tomatoes of varying size and variety

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced or chopped

1 Tbsn fresh oregano, chopped (or thyme)

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)

1 cup fresh mozzarella (optional)

Tomato Pasta11

  •  Dice tomatoes and place in a medium sized bowl

Tomato Pasta9

  •  Add garlic, herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper to tomatoes.

Tomato Pasta8

  •  Stir gently to combine and let sit at room temperature for one to three hours (30 minutes if you can’t wait).

Tomato Pasta6

  •  Slice or dice fresh mozzarella, if using.

Tomato Pasta4

  •  Add mozzarella to the sauce about 15 minutes or so before serving. (You don’t want it sitting out too long). Adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Tomato Pasta3

  •  Cook spaghetti according to instructions, drain and place in a serving bowl.

Tomato Pasta2

  •  Pour tomato sauce over the top and gently combine.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

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