Summer Pasta

Heirloom Tomatoes with Vodka, Shallots, and Cumin
This is perfect on a hot summer day, and super easy to throw together.

For 2


2 Heirloom Tomatoes (can use Hothouse tomatoes, or nice ripe tomatoes - but not Roma)
1 Shallot (diced)
½ to ¾ Cup Ketel One Vodka
1 T Dry Basil
½ t Cumin
Generous amount fresh black pepper (or coarse black pepper)
1+ T Butter
1+ T Olive Oil
Juice from half a lemon
Penne Pasta (I like Barilla)
Fresh Parmesean Cheese (for garnish)


Cut tomatoes into quarters, then slice those quarters into thirds lengthwise (winding up with 12 slices from each tomato). Put into a medium sized bowl, with the diced shallot, and sprinkle salt, generous amount of pepper, cumin, basil over the slices. Pour the vodka over this, and with your hands gently "toss" so as to get the spices integrated (but not so you break the tomato slices). Let sit, covered, in the fridge for an hour or so. I usually spoon the vodka over the tomatoes a few times during the hour, to make sure the tomatoes on top don't get dry.

After an hour, put a pot of water on to boil for your pasta. Once it boils, throw in your penne.

Now, set a sauté pan with your oil and butter over medium to medium high heat. When the pan is hot, lay in your slices of tomato, trying to be sure to have them laying flat in the pan. Give the pan a shake to make sure they aren't sticking. After about 3 minutes, when the tomatoes are getting soft, using a fork or tongs, flip over each of the slices. After a minute, pour in your lemon juice, and the remaining vodka marinade. Turn the heat up to high, bring to a hard simmer, so as to let the liquid reduce. Turn the heat down to medium, and continue to simmer for 5 minutes or so.

By this point, your pasta should be pretty close to being done. Pour it into a colander, give that a shake a few times to make sure you get all the water out of the insides of the penne, and get ready to eat.

To plate up, put some of your pasta in the center of each plate. Then, using a fork or tongs, place slices of the tomato over the pasta. With a spoon, stir the remaining liquid in the pan, and spoon a few tablespoons of the liquid over the tomaotes and pasta. To be extra fancy, take a final tablespoon's worth and drizzle it around the rim of the plate.

With a vegetable peeler, shave some curls of parmesean cheese over the top of your pasta/tomatoes, and around the rim of the plate. A final cracking of black pepper, and you're set!


Good Prepping & Dining Music

Bebel Gilberto
Tanto Tempo

White Stripes

Modest Mouse
Good News For People Who Love Bad News

Various Artists
Irma on Canvas: Exhibition 1