Quick Fresh Tomato and Herb Pasta


11 Nov Quick Fresh Tomato and Herb Pasta

Fresh Tomato Pasta - The Messy BakerBet you thought I was done with the fresh tomato recipes for a while.

So did I.

But I was given some environmentally conscious, on-the-vine hydroponic Ontario tomatoes (say that three times fast!) at the Royal Winter Fair and I just couldn’t bear to toss them in a salad. With some stoic herbs still toughing it out in the garden, a package of organic pappardelle noodles in the cupboard and a bit of cream left over from the pumpkin pie ice cream, I decided to make a something reminiscent of late summer. No roasting; no long simmers. Just a quick stovetop treatment and a dollop of cream to smooth things out.

This fresh tomato and herb pasta was the result.

Chopping, dicing and slicing included, this sauce was ready in the time it took to boil a large pot of  water and cook the pasta. In fact, it was ready a few minutes ahead of time, but I chop quickly so that doesn’t really count.

It smelled so good, and I was so impatient to get the photo session over with and eat, I didn’t notice an annoying little string of cheese clinging to the oregano. Oh well, it proves this is “real” food. Right?

I did take a few seconds to garnish the dish with a couple of sprigs of thyme and a few fresh oregano leaves, but that’s as tarted up as this dish gets.

Fresh ingredients is the key to this dish and the herbs are crucial. Dried thyme just doesn’t have the same effect. I’m going to miss my herb patch when the frost arrives. But this evening? I enjoyed a fresh taste of early autumn.

What will you miss the most when the frost comes?

Fresh Tomato Pasta with Herbs - The Messy Baker

Quick Fresh Tomato and Herb Pasta
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Prep / inactive time: 
Cook / active time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Tired of regular pasta sauce? This quick sauce uses fresh tomatoes and herbs and is ready by the time the pasta is cooked.
  • flat pasta of choice (tagliatelle or pappardelle work nicely)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ medium yellow pepper, chopped
  • handful finely chopped fresh herbs (thyme, basil, oregano and/or marjoram)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream, enough to form a sauce
  • salt to taste
  • generous grinding fresh ground black pepper
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. Put a generous amount of lightly salted water on the boil. When it boils, cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Gently, gently sauté the garlic in the oil for a 1 to 2 minutes until it softens, being careful not to brown or burn the garlic since this will make it bitter.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the diced tomatoes and cook a couple of minutes. Add the yellow pepper and fresh herbs and continue cooking until the tomatoes just begin to fall apart.
  4. Stir in the cream and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and season with salt and pepper to taste, keeping the sauce on a very gentle simmer until the pasta is ready.
  5. When the pasta is al dente, drain it without rinsing (you want the sauce to stick to the starch), toss the pasta and sauce together, sprinkle with grated cheese. Wipe brow and pretend this was very hard.
Don't bother tryint to save calories by making this with half-and-half or table cream. With 35% butter fat, heavy cream (also called whipping cream) is the only cream that won't curdle when boiled.


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No Comments
  • George
    Posted at 11:06h, 11 November Reply

    I tried, but could not say, “environmentally conscious, on-the-vine hydroponic Ontario tomatoes ” three time. But I definitely can say WOW over your fresh tomato pasta sauce. The colours are sensational and just the right balance of seasonings. Many thanks for posting this terrific recipe.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:59h, 12 November Reply

      Thanks, George. Now that I know about these tomatoes, they just might make the long winter tolerable. I can always get decent peppers but come the snow the tomatoes are totally tasteless and have the texture of soap.

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 11:51h, 11 November Reply

    Yes, that looks good. Sigh. Yet another reason to have summer nostalgia.

    It’s funny, but I’ve recently become completely obsessed with delicata squash. I bought 3 on Sunday and raved about them to the farmer at my market, and she said, “Get them now cause their season is almost over.” So, when the frost comes, I suppose I’ll miss my newfound squashloves.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:01h, 12 November Reply

      Delicata? Never heard of it. Perhaps this is a case where squash ignorance is bliss — at least until next autumn. Of course, now that you mention them I’ll be on the lookout obsessively.

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 13:29h, 11 November Reply

    My stars that looks good, Charmian! I feel warm and sunny just gazing at the pictures. :)

    Appropriately, I will miss truly fresh tomatoes – and doubly so since we didn’t have many this year.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:02h, 12 November Reply

      I remember you saying you area was hit by a tomato blight. For some reason mine were fine and the region seems to be growing decent vine tomatoes. Fingers crossed this continues.

  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 16:49h, 11 November Reply

    Lloks yummy- and rather autumnal at that with the red and the yellow. Nice work. The green house grown tomatoes from Ontario Greenhouses can be so delicious!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:08h, 12 November Reply

      Thanks, Dana. Having read up on the growing process and tasting the results, I’m going to be eating Ontario Greenhouse tomatoes more often — and without guilt!

  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 17:08h, 11 November Reply

    I’m impressed. I would have loved this. I really loved the line about “wiping your brow”. I will miss running out without having to stop for a coat/gloves/scarf etc. I don’t mind missing certain foods for a while, as then I love them all the better when they come back into season.
    Love you shivery old sister.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:09h, 12 November Reply

      Good point. I’m always misplacing my gloves. But I have a spiffy new Biltmore hat that I will wear with pride come the snow!

      And you would have liked this pasta. No hot spices!

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 12:56h, 12 November Reply

    When the frosts come? They came over a month ago.
    I’m missing fresh corn already. it was a VERY short season here and I think I only got some of the Taber stuff for two weeks, then pouf! It was gone.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:28h, 12 November Reply

      A month ago? I think I’d cry.

      We had a short corn season too, and almost no strawberries! Too much rain and too cool. So sad. I want a do-over on summer!

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