Thursday, August 7, 2008

Spaghetti with Heirloom Tomatoes, Leeks, and Olives

Here is a quick recipe to try. It screams summer, is quite fantastic, and really easy to make. Make sure to add the heirloom tomatoes right at the end so they do not get overcooked. You just want to warm them through. I used a large variety of heirlooms including Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, and Pineapple. If you live in the Central Coast area, there is a man who sells all of these beautiful tomatoes at both the Morro Bay market (Thursdays, 3-5 p.m., Spencer's shopping center), and the Los Osos market (Monday, 2-4:30 p.m., Baywood).

Spaghetti with Heirloom Tomatoes, Leeks, and Olives

-8 oz dry spaghetti (whole wheat or regular)
-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 large or 2 small leeks, white and light green parts only
thinly sliced into half moons
-3 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
- ½ cup dry white wine
-Zest of 1 small lemon
-1/4 cup kalamata olives, quartered
-2 cups roughly chopped heirloom tomatoes
-1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
-Salt, black pepper, and a pinch of chili flakes to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add in the leeks and a pinch of salt. Sweat the leeks until they become soft and tender, stirring frequently, about 7-10 minutes. Adjust the heat if necessary to avoid too much browning. Add in the sliced garlic and sweat 2 minutes more.

While the leeks are cooking, add the spaghetti to the boiling water. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, or until the spaghetti is tender but al dente. Strain, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water. Place the hot pasta in a large bowl.

Add the white wine, lemon zest, and kalamata olives to the leeks. Cook about 3 minutes, or until the juices in the pan have reduced by about half. Add in the tomatoes and the reserved pasta water. Cook just until the tomatoes become warm and the sauce is slightly thick. Season with salt, black pepper, and a small pinch of chili flakes to taste. Pour the hot sauce over the pasta, add in the basil, and toss to distribute. Serve hot.

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