Sunday Suppers: Penne with Cherry Tomato Salsa Fresca

fresh cherry toms 017Sounds swanky, huh?  But it just means that I didn't cook the sauce--it's fresca, or fresh.  Did you ever drink Fresca?  It was a lovely grapefruity soda.  Back in the 70s, my mom used a green glass Fresca bottle with an aluminum sprinkle top on it to sprinkle water on clean laundry before ironing.  But I digress.

Not including boiling the water, this meal took literally about 12 minutes to make.  I'm not sure that even Rachael Ray could top that!  Plus, I used organic 'maters, fresh basil from our yard and whole grain pasta.  Yummy goodness for my tummy.  And for yours.

fresh cherry toms 001Penne with Cherry Tomato Salsa Fresca
Use whatever shape pasta you like, and please feel free to modify this in any way that appeals to you.  As usual, I might have used some more ingredients had I had them on hand, but I try to make my meals pretty easy.  Who wants to run to the store all the time?

  • pasta for as many as you're feeding
  • large handful of cherry tomatoes per diner
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • as much torn fresh basil (or other herbs) as you like
  • a sprinkling of grated or shaved Parmesan cheese

Bring water to a boil.  Cook the pasta for as long as it takes to reach al dente.  Mine took 9 minutes.

fresh cherry toms 005While the pasta is cooking, cut any larger tomatoes in half or fourths.

fresh cherry toms 007Sprinkle on some salt and pepper, add a healthy drizzle of olive oil and about half as much vinegar.

fresh cherry toms 010
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Toss in a lovely handful of chopped or torn fresh basil.

Mash the tomatoes a bit, either with a potato masher or just by squeezing them with your Very Clean Hands.

Drain the pasta, reserving just a touch of the cooking water.

Return the pasta and water to the pan and add all the tomato sauce.

Toss together over high heat for one or two minutes, just to heat the tomatoes.

Plate and serve. Sprinkle with a little Parm, if you want, maybe just a pinch of a fancy finishing salt and/or another drizzle of really fruity extra virgin olive oil.

This was a perfect meal for a muggy Saturday evening. It was light and fresh and wonderful.

Feel free to add your favorite protein/s to make this a bit heartier.  I do have some leftovers to which I'll probably add some cooked Gimme Lean (fake Italian sausage).  Use what you like.

Enjoy, and I hope you have a lovely day!

fresh cherry toms 008


  1. says

    I’ll be going in the opposite direction tonight – I’m making a mustard and cream sauce pasta for the parents. However, this is just the dish for the countless dinners when the hubs wants something substantial but it’s too freakin’ hot here to simmer up a sauce. The word ‘fresca’ makes me feel all breezy and cool! 8-D

  2. says

    Love This!! Cherry Tomatoes are finally starting to come in good!! Got tons of fresh herbs, so I’m ready to beat the heat with some ‘fresca’ =)

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