Friday, September 4, 2009

Crazy-Simple Dinner (and cheap, too!)

It's the tomato time of year - that time in the season when tomato plants are just bursting. there anything tastier than a homegrown tomato? Hardly. This year, I grew all of my tomatoes and tomatillos in containers - they never fared well in my square-foot garden. I'm happy to report that my container gardening experiment has been a big success and I've had an abundance of tomatoes, leaving me to find ways to use all of them.

One of my containers has cherry tomatoes growing in it and I've been a little stumped on how to use them. They're yummy to just wash and eat out of hand, but I've got a ton of them! Then I came across a recipe today that uses cherry tomatoes exclusively. I was so excited and had to try it tonight. Not only was it really delicious (it just tasted fresh and light) but it is a perfect frugal recipe -- particularly if you've grown some of the ingredients.

Fridays feature my "short and simple" posts and this recipe couldn't be any simpler.

Boil some water. Add spaghetti. Cook. Meanwhile...

Get a couple cups or so of cherry tomatoes. Over a large bowl, squish the tomatoes so they split. This is also good for stress relief.

Grab a couple handfuls of basil (this is a frugal gourmet garden staple. Fresh basil can be expensive at the store - you can buy a single plant that will produce all season for the same price as a few ounces at the store). Tear the basil up. Add to tomatoes.

Drizzle basil and tomatoes with some olive oil (like six glugs of it), with an added splash of balsamic vinegar. Mince (I like to use a hand-held grater) a couple cloves of garlic and add to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Once pasta is cooked, transfer it from the pot to the tomato-basil concoction. Don't worry about draining the pasta - simply grab it with some tongs; the water still on the pasta helps everything mix better. Toss the pasta with the tomato-basil mixture. That's it. Short and simple - and completely delicious.

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