Linguine with Salsa Fresca
Beware of imposters. All that is red and round is not a real tomato. The other day, we had cause to run in to a certain big-box retail behemoth to pick up travel necessities. As we walked in, a self-satisfied, slick, pre-recoreded voice over the loudspeaker assured us enthusiastically: “All of our steaks are 100% real beef!” So this is where we find ourselves. The good news is that our senses don’t fail us. While sight might be the least reliable in this situation (after all a round red tomato in January looks like a round red tomato in August and a steak looks like a steak, whether 100% beef or not), we have other tricks up our sleeve. There is smell (does the tomato carry on its skin the undeniable wine-y scent of vine-ripened fruit, the faintest whiff of sunshine and crushed tomato leaves from the field?), there is touch (is it heavy with juices, slightly yielding with readiness?), there is taste (is it tangy and a little sweet, with an umami kick of savoriness?), and finally, there is hearing. Ask questions and then listen: Who grew it? How was it harvested, and by who? How were those people treated? What was sprayed on it as it grew? Was it red or green when picked? We are here to answer all your questions, and we eat tomatoes too. We’ve asked the same ones, because here is what we want: food that is uncompromising in quality, grown by people with integrity who care for our land. When it comes, it’s so good that you don’t have to do much to it. A little olive oil, a little salt and pepper–the food speaks for itself.
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 1 pound linguine, cooked al dente and drained
- 1/4 c reserved pasta cooking water
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin
- 1 pound tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small bunch basil, coarsely chopped
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- freshly grated parmesan
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced garlic and allow to sizzle for a minute. Add chopped tomatoes and basil and turn off heat. Add cooked and drained pasta and toss well to combine, adding in some reserved pasta cooking water if needed.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve, topped with grated parmesan.