When local tomatoes and basil are in season, you almost owe it to them to prepare a dish that lets their freshness shine. Pair beefsteak and heirloom tomatoes with slices of the best mozzarella in Little Italy. Use cherry and plum tomatoes for a raw sauce seasoned with crushed garlic, olive oil, and torn basil leaves. It's an easy and elegant dish for a late summer evening.
RAW TOMATO SAUCE
1 lb pici or thick spaghetti, preferably Gragnano or Rustichella d'Abruzzo (Get both at Mount Carmel Foods inside the Arthur Avenue Retail Market.)
2 plum tomatoes and 20 cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed with the back of a knife
5 hand-torn large basil leaves
1/4 cup of a good quality extra virgin olive oil, preferably Don Luigi DOP from Teitel Brothers
Chop the tomatoes and mix with the garlic and basil. Add the olive oil as well as salt and pepper to taste. Let the mixture sit together while you boil salted water for your pasta and cook until al dente.
Remove the pasta from water with tongs and add to the sauce. (A bit of the pasta water will help the sauce blend and stick to your pasta.) Serve at room temperature.