This quick summer dish is best prepared at the height of the season, when tomatoes are irresistibly plump and red and fresh basil is available in abundance. This is, to me, one of the best pasta dishes, potent yet simple.

SERVES 4

6 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 pound)

3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup shredded fresh basil leaves (loosely packed)

ВЅ cup chopped fresh parsley

ВЅ cup olive oil

ВЅ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

ВЅ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 pound pasta, such as linguine, spaghetti, or vermicelli

в…” cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Wash the tomatoes and pat them dry. Cut out the cores and discard. Cut each tomato in half horizontally and gently squeeze out the seeds.
  2. Dice the tomatoes into 1-inch pieces and place in a medium bowl. Add the garlic, basil, parsley, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss well. Let marinate at room temperature for at least 2 hours. If you marinate it longer then chill it. May be prepared to this point in advance, covered, and chilled for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well in a colander and return to the pot or a large serving dish.
  4. Immediately toss the Parmesan cheese on the pasta. Pour on the sauce. Toss well and serve immediately. When the dish is served it tends to be warm rather than hot; this is fine and the flavor will gain as a result.