I usually want summer to go on forever, but I have to admit that I’m a little tired of the season at this point. I still love the heaps of tomatoes in my garden and sitting on our porch with a cold one at the end of the day (make mine a kombucha please), but our pace has been pretty much non-stop for the last 2 months. Summer has always been a busy time for us, but this year just feels like it’s on another level.
I had huge plans for these warm months–in work and life–don’t we all get like that after the May long weekend, what with the summer bucket lists and whatnot? I haven’t really tended to any of those plans in a dedicated way. I’ve found from experience that focusing on that specific type of guilt that binds itself to a lack of productivity is generally a waste of time. Though I hate to admit it, the guilt is still there just festering in the heat. I’m a goal-oriented person that likes to have end results after certain seasons in life. I tie my value to my outputs, and that kind of thinking is difficult to rewire.
The heat becomes concerning after a while too. With the way our climate is changing, I can’t remember the last summer with so many consecutive days of humidity and dryness. I get a weird sense of fear when I head outside at 6am and the temperature is already so high and the air is so thick. We’re lucky to have clear skies here though. The news of wildfires all over the world puts me into that weird place of sunken spirit, slight despair, and not knowing what to do other than throw some money at an organization and enact tiny changes in our household. They seem bigger and more powerful every year.
It’s all been a bit of a haze! After next week we get a bit of a break. I do feel like I need to say this: I’m not complaining at all. It’s a gift to have a full life with a sense of purpose in one’s work. Happy that I get to pop in here and on the ‘gram to just say hello.
Oh, and of course I also get to offer you this simple and GREAT dinner recipe! This pasta is a 10 ingredient wonder that takes advantage of all those tomatoes and basil that are everywhere right now. You make a simple and tangy basil tahini “cream” of sorts and fold that into pasta with meaty mushrooms and jammy/umami-loaded burst tomatoes. It’s flavourful, wholesome, simple, streamlined, and SO seasonal. All the things we love over here, right? Hope that you enjoy it and that your summer is winding down beautifully :)
BASIL TAHINI PASTA WITH BURST TOMATOES & MUSHROOMS
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: I personally love red lentil-based pasta right now for that extra hit of protein. It has a nice bit of chew once cooked as well. It tastes a little lentil-y, but I enjoy it.
-The pasta is nice and green as soon as it’s freshly tossed and hot. It then lightly fades over to the beige-ish-green side. Extra basil for garnishing is key! Just preparing you! ;)
-This pasta could handle a lot of chopped greens if you’re into that. Just throw them in at the end of the mushroom cooking process and wilt with the pasta and basil tahini.
½ cup tahini
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup basil leaves, packed (plus extra for garnish)
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup cold water (plus extra if necessary)
¾ lb (340 grams) shaped pasta of choice (penne and rotini are great)
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cups cherry/grape tomatoes
¾ lb (340 grams) cremini mushrooms, sliced
red pepper flakes, to taste
Make the basil tahini: in a food processor, combine the tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper. Pulse the machine until the basil is finely chopped and incorporated. With the motor running, drizzle the cold water into the feed tube until you have a creamy but still loose consistency, similar to table cream. Add more water if necessary and check the basil tahini for seasoning. Adjust and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the salted and starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil a large, deep skillet (or braiser) over medium heat. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and stir. Keep stirring the tomatoes until they are lightly browned, glistening, and starting to burst. You will have to use the back of your spoon to get this process going. I find this takes a good 8-10 minutes total. Scrape the burst tomatoes out into a bowl and give the skillet a good wipe.
Return the skillet to the heat with the remaining olive oil. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and let them sit for a full 2 minutes. Then, stir the mushrooms and season them with pepper. Let them sit another full minute. Then start stirring them again. They should be lightly browned and glistening. Season the mushrooms with salt. Continue letting them cook until evenly browned, soft, and glistening.
Add the pasta to the skillet along with the basil tahini. Stir everything up until evenly combined and warmed through. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and stir. If the pasta seems a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water until you reach your desired consistency. Transfer the pasta to your serving vessel and scatter the burst tomatoes on top along with the extra basil and red pepper flakes. Serve and enjoy immediately.