"Here." Dustin trudges in from the garden and dumps a bucketful of ripe tomatoes on the kitchen table. "They were ready so I picked them," he explains. So they are. And I know exactly what to do with them
8 perfectly ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 medium red or yellow sweet pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp basil, (not dried, please), chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
500 g pasta, (like shells or penne)
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
Parmesan, for sprinkling
Chop the tomatoes and the red or yellow pepper as finely as possible without turning them into mush. Dump them into a bowl. Add the garlic, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Have your young helper toss everything together until it is well mixed, then let it stand at room temperature for at least one hour, or for as long as three hours. This allows the juices to seep out and the flavours to combine. Go outside, read a magazine and watch the kids run through the sprinkler while you're waiting.
When you're ready to eat, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until just tender but not mushy. Drain and dump immediately into a large serving bowl. Add the shredded mozzarella cheese and the tomato mixture and toss well.
Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese for sprinkling at the table.
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