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$64 tomato

Recipes from the Garden
Leek Potato Soup

Caprese Pasta

Anne's Peach Pie

Bread and Butter Pickles

Anne's Applesauce

Potato Apple Thyme Gratin
Caprese Pasta
"For Easter, instead of chocolate bunnies, Zach and Katie got their very own set of kid-sized garden tools, a "gardening for kids" book, and kid-sized garden gloves. And the real treat: the news that they each could have their own garden and plant anything they wanted in it! They couldn't have been less enthusiastic if we had given them each a pick and shovel and told them they'd be working in the mines from now on, instead of going to school." — The $64 Tomato
The kids may not have wanted to garden, but they, as much as anyone, appreciated the food that came out of it. This is their all-time favorite dish, made with fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella.

"Caprese" refers to the Italian isle of Capri, in the Bay of Naples. This is a pasta variation of the famous Caprese salad, which is a tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad. This recipe takes only 25 minutes to prepare because you don't need to peel or otherwise fuss with the tomatoes.

  1. Go out to the garden or farmstand and pick 4 or 5 of the ripest good-sized tomatoes you can find, about 2 pounds worth, and about 30 leaves of basil. If you have parsley, grab a handful.
  2. Start a large pot of boiling, salted water. Slice each tomato in half across the equator and, over the sink, scoop out most of the seeds with your fingers. Don't worry about getting all of them out. Chop the tomatoes and place in a colander for a couple of minutes to drain the excess liquid. Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl. Chop the basil and parsley.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. We use medium shells for this dish, because they hold the thin sauce nicely. While the pasta is cooking, chop 8 ounces fresh mozzarella into about 3/8-inch cubes. Grate 1 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese.
  4. Smash a clove of garlic with the heel of your hand and saute very gently in ΒΌ cup of extra-virgin olive oil over low heat. Take care not to brown the garlic. Remove the garlic and add the warm oil to the tomatoes. Add the chopped basil and toss.
  5. When your pasta is almost cooked, season tomatoes with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. (If you add the salt too soon, the tomatoes will render too much juice.)
  6. When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain quickly (do not rinse) and return to pot, off the heat. Add the tomato mixture and the mozzarella. Mix in well and cover tightly. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir again. The heat of the pasta should have partially melted the mozzarella. Spoon into pasta bowls. Sprinkle a bit of parsley and lots of fresly grated Pecorino Romano and serve.
Serves 4.