It must be August here, because when I walked out of the farm this week I had probably 30 pounds of produce with me, including 18 glorious pounds of tomatoes. In the course of the summer we get cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, sauce tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, and the holy grail of tomatoes: heirlooms. This week marked their first appearance at the farm, and my share of them was eight pounds, which translated to six gorgeous, perfectly ripe specimens of all that’s good in the world of fresh produce.
Of course, my farm day is Mondays, and I’d had a particularly unpleasant one this week and had no real interest in cooking when I got home. But the tomatoes! Were perfectly ripe! And would only go bad if I didn’t do something with them right away. Enter my favorite go-to summer dinner: heirloom tomato and ricotta pasta. I originally got the recipe from one of the Cook’s Illustrated compendia, and it’s a nice, basic raw tomato sauce. Just seed and juice your tomatoes lightly, chop them as coarsely as you like, and toss with olive oil, minced garlic, coarsely ground pepper, salt and fresh chiffonaded basil. Then cook up your pasta, drain, and toss directly into the sauce, stirring in ricotta and fresh grated Parmagiano-Reggiano. I have long since stopped worrying about measuring stuff for this recipe, which is a very bold thing for me, considering how married I am to doing things exactly how they’ve been written. And I especially love using heirloom tomatoes instead of their more acidic regular cousins; these yellow and blush-hued tomatoes are incredibly mild and rich and they just melt into this sunny, warm perfection with a robust, fruity olive oil and the creamy cheese. I could probably eat my weight in this meal.