This is the perfect dish for a dinner on a busy summer day. The recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients that can be pulled together in the time it takes to boil water.
Tomatoes are the star of this show. A fresh local tomato at the height of ripeness is one of those things that make life worth living.
Indeed, they're so good as is that they don't even need to be cooked. Obviously, we could cook them and turn them into a sauce, but we'd be kissing off some of their freshness and all of their crunch. Instead, we salt them, lightly, which intensifies their flavor and pulls out some of their liquid. After the tomatoes have marinated in salt for 10 minutes, we season them with a little freshly grated lemon zest, a single tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil (this is a dish that requires the really good stuff), and some freshly ground black pepper.
Next it's time to reach for the goat cheese. Combined with hot pasta and a little of the pasta cooking liquid, the cheese melts into a richly creamy sauce. I recommend using whole-wheat pasta in this recipe. If you're gluten-intolerant, you can swap in quinoa, brown rice or buckwheat. (Its name notwithstanding, buckwheat isn't wheat, it's a grass.)
I finished this dish with a liberal sprinkling of herbs. And truthfully, there's scarcely a fresh herb around that doesn't play nicely with tomatoes. So feel free to recruit any and all of your own favorites. You can't lose.
Fast and fresh summer pasta
3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (about 1-inch pieces)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
8 ounces whole-wheat penne or fusilli pasta
1 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, basil, oregano, mint, dill, chives, cilantro and tarragon)