Saturday was September perfection. 70 degrees and sunny with a breeze just gentle enough to ruffle Danny's Dennis-the-Menace cowlick. So I strapped him in the stroller and headed to the farmers market. As we prowled through the produce, the bounty of summer beckoned. Sweet, juicy tomatoes glistened like rubies. Plump ears of corn arranged in neat piles. Tall carrots with green stems draped lazily over the tables.
I walked past the gourds and mini pumpkins. Next week, I told myself. Today? Today is still summer. I'm not ready to wish it away.
So join me for tonight's hot dinner. We're singing the swan song of summer, and it tastes delicious.
Quick Summer Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil
8 ounces short pasta (like rotini or penne)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Two big handfuls of baby spinach
Salt and pepper
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving if desired
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Cook pasta in heavily salted water according to package directions for al dente. Once it's finished cooking, save a bit of cooking water for later, then drain pasta and set aside.
Meanwhile heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and allow them to cook for about a minute. Then add spinach and a hearty pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle in a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water and stir until the spinach is wilted.
Stir in cooked pasta and Parmesan cheese. If the pasta seems too dry, drizzle in a few more tablespoons of pasta cooking water until the cheese melts and evenly coats the pasta. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese if desired.