a recipe for wistful thinking

Literally. All last week B and I were on a strict (um, fairly strict) no carbs regime. I mean it. No pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, nada. So naturally, by the time Saturday rolled around — and more to the point, prom and its slinky dress had passed — all I wanted was a big plate of spaghetti.

But before I just give it all away, I have to tell you about the source, aka what I want to do with my life. Summer Tomato Spaghetti comes from Canal House Cooking, a teensy joint enterprise undertaken by two foodie friends, one a food photographer and founding editor of Saveur Magazine, and the other a food stylist and restauranteur who ran the Saveur kitchen. They’re gal pals. They love cocktails. They left the food magazine world to write and self-publish a series of wonderful, whimsical, and seasonal cookbooks. They spend the day in a rambling Victorian studio inventing recipes. The NYT called it a “foodie fantasy,” which is exactly right. I don’t so much want to cook from their cookbooks as inhabit the lovely, delicious world they’re cooking in. But of course, I do the former.

I have their summer book (a fall/holiday one has since come out, and a winter/spring will once we reach those seasons), and this recipe is from there. The exact chapter is called “Too Many Tomatoes.” Just those words make me terribly homesick for July and August farmers markets, where this is exactly the situation, but right now, in frozen Iowa . . . we don’t have too many. So I can easily imagine how much better this will taste in five months, with zillions of sun-warmed and sun-ripened tomatoes crowding my fridge.

Even without summer-fresh ingredients, though, this really hit the spot. Certainly enough to send me into an hour-long, carb-sated nap. And for those who’ve been keeping up with posts — and remember my promise to make terrific amounts of paella in April and May — know that the recipe’s coming from Canal House.

Summer Tomato Spaghetti

(Slightly adapted from Canal House Cooking)

Serves four


  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 coves garlic
  • a bunch of basil leaves, chopped
  • 6 tomatoes, halved, cored, seeded, and chopped up
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • salt and pepper, to taste

And here’s what you do

Cook the spaghetti in a pot of boiling salted water over high heat.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it softens and turns gold. Remove and discard. Add the basil and tomatoes, then stir around until just heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When the spaghetti is three-quarters of the way cooked, drain it, reserving about half a cup of pasta water. Add the spaghetti and water to the skillet and finish cooking for five minutes. (If the skillet’s not large enough, just cook the pasta, water, and stewed basil/tomato/oil in the pot.) Stir in grated cheese. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and more cheese.


2 responses to this post.

  1. delish! maybe we should go into business??? i’m a photographer… sort of….


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