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Fusilli with Summer Tomato Sauce

For this light, uncooked sauce, you must have perfectly ripe tomatoes. Be sure they're at room temperature, too, not cold. In fact, tomatoes shouldn't be refrigerated at all; chilling permanently reduces their flavor.

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  • Servings: 4

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  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 4), chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil
  • 1 pound fusilli
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the tomatoes, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper and puree. Add the basil and pulse just to mix.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fusilli until just done, about 13 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce and the Parmesan cheese. Let sit for about 1 minute to allow the pasta to absorb some of the liquid. Serve with additional Parmesan.


Fresh Tomatoes We use plenty of canned tomatoes with pasta, but for this raw sauce, fresh, lusciously ripe specimens are essential. Take advantage of the abundant crop in August and September. If you live in an area with a farmers' market, or have a garden of your own, experiment with different types—red, yellow, orange, heirloom. Each of these has a unique flavor.

Suggested Pairing

Look for a simple, slightly acidic red wine to pair with the acidity of the tomatoes. Chianti and Dolcetto, both from Italy, are good bets.

Photo © William Meppem

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