I am a terrible gardener—Julie
Grimes puts me to shame with her backyard garden.
I’ll put a lot of things in the ground in the spring, and then I’ll start to
neglect the garden when I feel defeated by the weeds and the weather gets too
hot. This still usually works out OK for me (the garden finds a way to thrive),
but this summer has been especially brutal. So my garden is now fried. Yet even
in its death throes, it selflessly offers up a bounty, which I do not deserve,
like what you see in the picture. It’s shameful, like the boy you’re mean to in
college who still gives you all his class notes and remembers your birthday.
I’m fortunate enough to have lots of tomatoes right now, and doubly lucky
because my kids adore them (they eat big ones like apples, slurping over a
plate to catch the juices), I’ve been making this pasta dish a lot. I love it
for its simplicity—for its pure, uncomplicated flavors. All you need are five
ingredients (not counting salt and pepper) and about 15 minutes.
Cook 5 sliced garlic cloves
in 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
Toss in about 4 cups chopped/halved heirloom tomatoes (I use a mix of coarsely
chopped beefsteak tomatoes, wedges of smaller globe tomatoes, and halved cherry
or pear tomatoes). Increase heat to medium, and cook about 5 minutes—just until
tomatoes start to soften. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Toss with 4 cups cooked pasta (I like fun short shapes like strozzapreti or
trofie, shown here), and top with a handful of torn basil. Serves 4 happy
people. If you’d like to grant yourself six ingredients, top with a grating of
Parmigiano-Reggiano. If you’re feeling kicky, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed
red pepper as you gently cook the garlic.
Find more inspiration in our 5-Ingredient Cookbook.