This recipe for pasta with fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella is my last hurrah to summer tomatoes. I’ve been experimenting the last couple of weeks trying to find the perfect way to use fresh tomatoes in a pasta dish and finally found the easiest, tastiest way to use up all those summer tomatoes.
The biggest problem I’ve had making a fresh tomato sauce is, once the tomatoes are diced, there is too much tomato juice. I tried sautéing the diced tomatoes in a little olive oil and garlic but the sauce was too soupy – so I ended up having to cook them for a long time which caused the tomatoes to lose all shape – and you’re kind of defeating the purpose of using fresh, summer tomatoes if you cook them down into a tomato puree.
I tried adding fresh tomatoes uncooked to pasta but again there’s just too much tomato juice – making everything kind of watery. I thought about straining off the tomato juice – but that seems a waste.
Then I saw this technique on Food52. It’s from a Michael Ruhlman recipe. Basically, you chop the tomatoes, salt them lightly, and let them sit as they release their juices. Next, sauté some garlic and add the tomato juice (not the tomatoes) to the pan. You’re creating a sort of tomato juice beurre blanc, which is basically a fancy way of saying you swirl cold butter into the hot tomato juice and garlic mixture to create a sauce. Finally, toss cooked pasta with the tomato juice/butter sauce, add the chopped tomatoes, a little fresh basil and some fresh mozzarella and it’s done. All I can say is it was perfect.
A couple of notes:
I used less salt, garlic and butter than the original recipe called for. And everything worked out fine.
You can use any pasta shape you like for this recipe. I used penne.
My tomatoes were very ripe so I only used a little salt on the tomatoes – they released a lot of juice with just a 1/2 tsp of salt added.
I used unsalted butter because that’s what I had on hand. Salted butter will probably be just fine.
I added the mozzarella at the very end – after the pasta had cooled slightly – since I didn’t want a lot of melted, stringy cheese. You want the tomatoes to be the star in this dish.
This is an easy, fast dish to put together. You want to have everything prepped before hand so you can just add each ingredient at the right time without feeling rushed.
Recipe originally from Michael Ruhlman’s site. Thank you, Michael, for a great recipe!Print
Pasta with fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella
An easy summer pasta dish using fresh tomatoes and mozzarella.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 12 mins
- Total Time: 22 minutes
- Yield: 2 to 4
- 2 cups of dried pasta – I used penne
- 1 veggie bouillon cube
- 3 large tomatoes or 6 medium tomatoes – about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic – minced
- 2 oz of fresh mozzarella – diced
- 3 tbs butter
- 6 twists of black pepper from a pepper mill
- 1 large handful of basil – about 15 leaves – minced
- Chop tomatoes into a medium dice. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and half of the minced basil to the diced tomatoes. Stir to combine and let it sit as you prep the other ingredients and bring the water to a boil.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and bouillon. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan. Next add the minced garlic and stir the garlic to cook for 30 seconds. Don’t let it burn.
- Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the tomatoes over the sauté pan, so the tomato juice flows directly into the sauté pan. You want to add all the tomato juice to the garlic cooking in the sauté pan. Set the tomatoes aside and cook the tomato juice over medium high heat for a minute or two until the tomato juice thickens slightly.
- Drain the pasta when ready and set to the side.
- Add the 3 tbs of butter to the tomato juice/garlic mixture in the sauté pan. Stir or swirl pan as the butter melts so it is fully blended into the sauce.
- Once all the butter has melted, turn off the heat and add the cooked pasta to the sauce in the sauté pan. Toss to combine.
- Next, add the tomatoes and black pepper to the pan and toss.
- Transfer pasta to a bowl. Add the remaining basil and diced mozzarella and stir to combine.
- Serve pasta and enjoy!