Orange Coast Magazine

Taste of O.C. | Priscilla Mayfield on food


Summer Tomato Pasta Sauce―No Cooking Allowed

Hot pasta + raw sauce = summertime heaven

With tomato season reaching critical mass at farmers markets and maybe in your own garden, one of the best ways to make use of the bounty is with Senior Editor Chris Christensen’s super savory, value-added version of an essential summer pasta. (To find a farmers market near you, consult our online guide.)


Pasta With Uncooked Tomatoes, Olives, Capers, and Cheese Sauce

This is one of my favorite summer pastas. I came up with this elaborate “bruschetta” sauce in the mid-‘90s, when my husband started his tomato-growing habit. There’s something about the combination of room-temperature “sauce” added to hot pasta that makes it light and delicious. Once you get it down, you’ll start improvising with whatever herbs or cheese you have on hand. I’ve even cut back the cheese and added a drained can of tuna to the “sauce.” But if you make it with anything less than ripe, seasonal tomatoes (farmers market or farm stand), it won’t be nearly as good—that’s why I call it “summer” pasta. I hope you enjoy this. It’s pretty satisfying, and amazingly simple.—Chris Christensen

(Makes 4 to 6 servings)

4 large, ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

¾ pound medium or soft cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes, or, if soft, added to the mixture in dollops (I use either smoked mozzarella, brie, goat cheese, or a mixture of goat cheese and fresh mozzarella. Feta probably works, too, and if you use it, throw in some fresh mint!)

¾ cup fruity extra virgin olive oil

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved

1 to 2 tablespoons capers, drained

1 cup basil leaves, chopped or cut into strips

Arugula (optional, but if you have some, throw in a small bunch)

½ to 1 ½ teaspoons salt (start light and add to taste—the olives and capers will be salty)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound linguine

Combine all ingredients except the pasta in a medium noncorrosive bowl, cover lightly and set aside for 1 to 2 hours—NO LONGER. Do not refrigerate; if you do, you’ll kill the taste of the tomatoes, and the flavors won’t macerate.

Cook pasta until al dente, drain in a colander, and immediately return the empty pot to the turned-off burner. Pour in the sauce, add the drained pasta, and toss with a tongs to coat evenly. If you use regular mozzarella, cover pot for 1 minute to let it melt a bit. Serve immediately with grated cheese, and extra ground black pepper. If needed, drizzle with a bit more olive oil.


Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

OC Guides


OC Guides
  • Best of 2014: Bird-Watching

    When the throngs of beachgoers are too much, spend a day with the birds. Here, with the wind whipping off the ocean and herons, egrets, ducks, and more soaring above, you'll get a chance to be the amateur ornithologist you never knew you wanted to be. Free
    3842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, 714-846-1114,

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Green Cleaners

    Sold from her website and a refitted retro travel trailer, these earth-safe cleaning products are Marilyn Nowak of Coto de Caza's propriety formulas. Products for laundry, surfaces such as glass and wood - even an ecological drain cleaner - all have dispenser bottles and bulk refills $8 to $48
    Resuming in September at Great Park Farmer's Market, Sand Canyon Avenue and Marine Way, Irvine, 949-292-1648,

    Read More
  • Food Lovers Guide - Vanilla

    Plain vanilla extract is fine for large-batch baking, but vanilla snobs like to play with other varieties, including the skinny, leathery beans. We won’t delve into the classic Mexican-versus-Tahitian debate, except to say we like Tahitian for creamy concoctions and the bolder Mexican in concert with dark chocolate. Find plump, vacuum-sealed beans of both varieties at Surfas Culinary District. Read More
  • Food Lovers Guide - Kouign Amann

    Butter worship is a birthright in Brittany—the French region that invented this transcendent caramelized pastry with the funny name (say Queen a-MAHN). Read More
  • Food Lovers Guide - Taps' Remy Beer

    Brewmaster Victor Novak and owner Joe Manzella fill a Heaven Hill bourbon barrel with Taps’ Imperial Russian Stout. After five months, the transformation of flavors is phenomenal, eliciting notes of coconut and marshmallow that flatter the inherent dark chocolate flavors of the stout. Read More
wine blog

stuff we love

Charitable Events Calendar