Thursday, September 09, 2010

Heirloom Tomato and Herb Pappardelle

A couple weeks ago, the farmers' market was flooded with just-picked tomatoes - almost every vendor had their table littered with different beautiful varieties. Jeff and I found ourselves (along with several others!) especially captivated by one table that had a small, but colorful selection that was vanishing as fast as the farmer could get them refreshed.

With no plan in mind for dinner that night, Jeff and I joined the small crowd and packed a few pounds in our sack and handed over what seemed not nearly enough bills to cover the cost. I even asked again if they were sure that's what the total was to make sure I heard it right the first time and the older woman nodded with a grin. After picking out a few other goodies, we jumped in the car and my mind immediately began spinning with ideas of what to do with these plump orbs... I glanced through a few options when we got home and decided on this veggie-friendly Heirloom Tomato and Herb Pappardelle dish.

Extra-virgin olive oil gave us a starting point to prepare a brilliant barely-cooked sauce, to which we added a mess of thinly sliced shallots as soon as the oil was warm. Garlic is essential to this dish, of course, but don't be afraid to play with the amount - we added five fairly large cloves, thinly sliced, but two or three could be plenty if you like a more subdued presence. For the herb part of this dish, a plentiful amount of fresh oregano, rosemary and thyme are stirred in to the pot, along with salt, fresh ground black pepper and the lovely tomatoes, which we had seeded and diced into small cubes.

When I said barely-cooked, I meant it - once the tomatoes go in, the sauce is only cooked for a couple minutes to just heat the tomatoes through. Another reason to use your best tomatoes here! To go with this, we had a large pot of boiling, well-salted water on the stove all ready to to accept the package of wide-ribboned pappardelle pasta we dropped shortly after we started the sauce.

With the pasta drained and divided between our plates, we scooped out the fresh sauce with an old metal ladle and inundated each portion. Two final additions topped our meal with a bang - a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and salty cheese shreds grated from a humble block of pecorino cheese. Jeff enjoys the even distribution of grated cheese bits vs large strips, but it you like bigger bites, shavings would definitely be appropriate. We found this plenty filling, but if you need more oomph to make it feel like dinner, a few grilled shrimp, lazily placed on top, would fit the bill.


  1. I'm not gonna lie, I have had quite a serious love affair with heirloom tomatoes recently and I think my heart might break once they stop being available. As such I've been scouting out as many recipes as possible to make before that happens. This looks fantastic! I love how the tomatoes really shine.

  2. Joanne - They've started disappearing here already. Sad!

  3. and when its' the season. Yum (But while I do love pappardelle with tasty chunky sauces like this I usualy try to use pasta with ridges or crevices - wagon wheels, tortiglioni, conchiglie, or paccheri (my favourite) so that the pieces stick on.