Author Notes: Inspired, in part, by a small town in Tuscany called Cervovagno and the beautiful tomatoes available there, this minimal, easy (no, really, easy!) pasta comes together in minutes. Start by roughly chopping the best tomatoes you can find, add arugula, paper-thin slices of onion, extravagant glugs of your finest olive oil, add to freshly cooked, hot pasta, and finish everything off with long parmesan curls. Ecco la bella pasta! —Alex Guajardo
Serves: 4-6, with leftovers
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 10 min
pound Spaghetti or Linguine
pounds heirloom tomatoes, whichever you prefer
cups arugula or tender young greens of your choice
cups finely shaved red onion
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Red Wine Vinegar, to taste
ounces Parmesan cheese to garnish
Red Wine Vinegar (optional)
- Cut tomatoes into large, 1/2 inch pieces. Place tomatoes and all of their juices into a large bowl–big enough to fit everything in the recipe plus room to stir. Season the tomatoes generously with salt and pepper. Add a splash or two of the best olive oil you have. Stir together and give everything a taste. If it turns out a little too sweet, add a bit of red wine vinegar to even everything out and bring out some of the tomatoes’ acid.
- Set the tomatoes aside and let them work their magic. In the meantime, bring about a gallon of salted water to a boil. The water should be salty enough to impart some salt to season the pasta–think of the sea. Add the pasta and stir.
- While the pasta is cooking, lay the greens on top of the tomatoes, and the onion slices on top of that. Try to create one even layer of onion, so that when you pile the pasta on top, the heat from the pasta will wilt the greens a touch, and take the raw edge off of the onions.
- When the pasta is al dente, drain and pour on top of the tomatoes, greens, and onions. Set it aside for a minute or two to let the starch settle a bit, don’t touch!–this will add some body to the sauce you’ve made. While you’re waiting add about half of the parmesan to the bowl, and turn on some classic Italian crooners like Renato Carosone or Adriano Cecconi to set the mood. Ready? Give everything a good stir, taste it all one last time and adjust seasoning as needed, top with extra parmesan, and serve immediately.
Photo by Alex Guajardo