By David Harbilas
The title of this recipe may sound boring, but despite its simplicity it’s a great example of how raw tomatoes can be the base of a flavorful pasta sauce.
The key lies in using a small amount of the pasta cooking water to slightly warm the tomatoes and melt the goat cheese into a sauce.
Using the best quality cherry tomatoes, in season, also helps.
Some torn basil and a drizzle of a good quality extra virgin olive oil add spice and fruit.
- 1 pound pasta, preferably penne, shells or fusilli
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup asparagus, blanched and cut into Â½ inch long segments
- 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
- zest of Â½ lemon (optional)
- Â¼ cup torn or chopped basil leaves
- About 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (not your best stuff, which you’ll use to finish the dish). Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, asparagus, goat cheese, and, if using, the lemon zest, in a bowl.
Season with salt and pepper. When the pasta is done, drain and reserve about Â¼ cup of the pasta cooking water. Toss the pasta with the vegetables and cheese in the bowl and add enough of the cooking water to warm the tomatoes and cream the goat cheese slightly. Top the pasta with the basil and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil. Serve hot.