Simple Weekend Cooking: DaVinci’s Tomatoes

by Elizabeth on January 14, 2012

I’ve got a few posts for you on Attention that I’ll put up at the end of the month, by the way.  Provided the wind doesn’t knock out our internet again.  It’s that time of year, when weather just kind if happens, and we’re all at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Which is probably why I’m so obsessed with summer right now.  Fresh tomatoes and herbs from the garden, chopped garlic and al dente pasta (just a little bit!)…

We’re so, so lucky to live in a world where we can get these year-round.

Sure, they’re a thousand times better when they’re straight from the garden, still sun-warmed when you chop them.  But it wasn’t that long ago when you’d have two choices for a fresh basil-tomato pasta in winter:  Use canned tomatoes, or go without.  A little loss in quality doesn’t seem all that bad, in comparison.  (Well, at least until I learn to can my own homegrown tomatoes.  Then I might change my mind.)

daVinci was all about paying attention to everything.

And with this recipe, instead of just slapping something together (it’s very, very simple this weekend), really take the time to look at what you’re doing.  Pay attention to the smell of the basil and the way the paperlike coating on the garlic peels.  Cook slowly, eat slowly, and appreciate how amazing even the most simple of things can be.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or less, if you have a non-stick pan)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups chopped roma tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • 3 cups hot cooked whole wheat angel hair pasta (one half-package, generally speaking)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • dash of cayenne, if you like your sauce with some bite


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic; sauté 30 seconds.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes; cook only until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add pasta, basil, cheese, salt, and pepper, tossing gently to combine.
 Then eat.  You can add in other things, like chopped kalamata olives or sauteed summer squash if you have them on hand.  A huge side of summer squash, steamed carrots, and broccoli with lemon and garlic powder sprinkled on top round it out, and keep you from going overboard on the pasta, too.

Saper Vedere, folks.  Enjoy your weekend.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

gemmy1 January 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Yes, when you can your own, you will care. But you also won’t because (bwahahaha) you have summer lined up in your pantry. Also, peach jam. Summer in a jar. Makes me so very happy with every spoonful. The simplicity of the flavors appeals to me. After I finish my chicken soups, I will make this for myself with one of my precious jars. :) tomatoes are easy but give HUGE satisfaction. I recommend the learning.


Lori January 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm



adminnie January 16, 2012 at 5:52 am

i hear that san marzano canned tomatoes are ALMOST as good as fresh romas, and better than most other canned tomatoes. tomatoes also freeze well (yeah, yeah, i know, no freezer space, b ut it’s a thought for the future!)


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