The farmers markets are currently bursting with tomatoes of all sizes and varieties, from big fat beefsteaks to pints of colorful cherry tomatoes. One of my favorite ways to use up a surplus of tomatoes is with a recipe I call “squish.” Or, if you prefer the more appetizing name, “fresh tomato and blue cheese pasta.” I love this dish because it highlights the fresh vibrant taste of raw tomatoes and it’s incredibly quick to make. The only cooking involved is boiling water for the pasta.
The sauce for this pasta uses only four ingredients: Tomatoes, as much blue cheese as you can stand, fresh basil and olive oil.
I usually use cherry tomatoes that I cut in half, although I’ve used larger tomatoes cut into smaller pieces as well. Once all the tomatoes are cut and placed in a large bowl, I use my hands (cleansed with handmade soap, of course) to squish all the amazing juice out of them. I don’t fuss with straining seeds or peeling off the skins or cooking the tomatoes down. On a busy weeknight, who has time? Plus, I love having nice chunks of raw tomatoes mixed in with the warm pasta and creamy blue cheese.
Once I’m satisfied with the amount of tomato juice at the bottom of the bowl, I drizzle in some olive oil and stir in crumbled blue cheese. (If you hate blue cheese, I’m not sure why you are reading this but in case you are still here, I think goat cheese would be equally wonderful.) Add some freshly chopped basil and Bob’s your uncle, you’re done with the sauce. It’ll look a little lumpy and, well, raw. But don’t fret, it’s about to be transformed.
Here’s the important part. Do not drain the pasta when it’s ready. Instead, use a pasta scoop to carefully transfer the pasta from the water, directly into the bowl of tomatoes. The heat from the pasta melts the blue cheese and the little bit of water that gets transferred with the pasta helps make the sauce creamy. Once you’ve transferred all of the pasta, give everything a good stir so the pasta is coated with cheesy, juicy goodness. If you feel the sauce is too dry, add a bit of the cooking water from the pot and stir again. If you seem to have a lot of liquid in the bottom of the bowl, use a spoon to drizzle it over individual servings.
This recipe serves about 2 people and on the rare occasion that we have leftovers it reheats well.
Fresh tomato and blue cheese pasta (a.k.a. Squish)
The measurements below are a starting point. If you want more tomatoes, add them. If you want less cheese, use less. Want it to be a bit tangy? Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. There are a lot of ways to tweak this recipe and make it your own.
12 oz fresh cherry tomatoes (or any kind of tomato you have on hand)
4 oz container of crumbled blue cheese
3 tbsp olive oil
Chopped basil to taste
2 servings of angel hair pasta
Cook the angel hair pasta according to package directions.
As the pasta cooks, roughly chop the tomatoes. Place tomatoes in a large bowl and squish them with your hands until you have a nice puddle of juice at the bottom of the bowl. Add olive oil, blue cheese and basil and stir well.
When the pasta has cooked, use a pasta scoop to transfer pasta to the bowl of tomatoes. Stir until pasta is well coated. If needed, add a small amount of the pasta cooking water to make the sauce more creamy.