I try to go to the farmer’s market every week, which is a ritual I love. I’ve been going to this market since I moved here over six years ago (I was a regular at markets back home before I moved, too), and at this point I know most of the farmers by name and so it is a combination of shopping and catching up.
It probably also distracts me from the fact that I haven’t really done anything with my garden in a couple of years, despite my best intentions. It does, however, keep me in grounded in the season, not to mention getting me better and fresher produce than I could buy elsewhere.
One of my favorite vendors sells baskets of mixed heirloom tomatoes, and right now their plants and putting out like crazy after the summer lull. The last two weeks I have not been able to resist the siren call of these beauties.
Last week when I brought them home, I felt momentarily stumped about how to enjoy them. I’m not someone who eats tomatoes like an apple. I was enjoying my version of a caprese style panzanella earlier this summer, but found it too fussy at work, what with the carrying bread separately, mixing, and letting it sit for a few minutes before eating.
Then I remembered a pasta dish I’ve been making since college, with fresh diced tomatoes tossed onto hot pasta, with basil and feta cheese. And with a little updating, it’s now my new favorite craveable lunch.
Fresh tomatoes, especially good heirlooms, can give off a lot of liquid. Which is full of flavor, but can really water things down. I decided to drain the liquid from the tomatoes, and cook it down with balsamic vinegar to make a sauce. Basically concentrating the flavor, and using it to sauce the pasta.
Then tossing in the fresh tomatoes, basil, and some crumbled feta, along with some cannellini beans to increase the protein, and you’ve got a wonderful meal of a salad. I’ve been packing it into wide mouth pint jars and taking it for lunch.
- About 2 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes, or any flavorful tomatoes
- 1 cup cavatelli pasta, or any small shaped pasta
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- Splash or two of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- About 4 ounces feta cheese