Of another Sunday

Picture this:

You're sitting on your porch, in cotton shorts and a t-shirt, curled up at the blue iron table with a glass of Muscadel. Your husband is sitting across from you, in his white undershirt and plaid pajama bottoms, piling up bow tie pasta with melted Hannahbells and basil from the garden and Dorris's big heirloom tomatoes on toast. The pasta is tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and it's still hot, fresh from the pot.

Arts & Ideas wafts in through the screens: Eygptian youth, bad banking, Roosevelt. You take a bite and the basil breaks, suddenly fragrant. The tomato is still warm from its spot on the window sill—it has never seen a fridge, cold weather, the inside of a store. The cheese is sharp, gooey, distinctive—all muddled together with oil and starch.

The recipe is one you pulled out from a Martha Stewart magazine—the one you were reading at twilight, drinking iced tea, your legs draped over the leather arm rest of the couch. No one had volunteered to make dinner yet—after the beach, the sun, the salt. All either one of you wanted to do was read—first books, then magazines, then newspapers. When the energy for that ran out, it was just the radio.

When you came across the recipe—tomato and basil pasta—it was more of a reminder than a jolt. You'd been to the farmers' market yesterday where the tomatoes were ripe, and the basil was ready in the garden. Someone had brought bow tie pasta home from the marketplace the other day, and there were all sorts of cheeses still in the fridge from last week. All that was left to do was pick and chop and boil, season with salt and pepper, pour the wine, cut a few slices of toast.

So you did and now dinner is done. Your plates are clean and the sky is pink, blue, then dark. You sit for a while, silent, then finish your wine, walk inside, turn the kitchen lights out. It's time for more books—another chapter of The Time Traveler's Wife, maybe, or The Food of a Younger Land—then the end of another Sunday, and bed.


This is so simple, it's more of a recommendation than a recipe. So do this: get some good tomatoes, some fresh basil, and some good cheese (I recommend either Hannahbells from Shy Brothers Farm or the mozzarella with gorgonzola dolce from Fromage à Trois), and toss them together with some hot pasta, olive oil, and salt. Crack black pepper on top, pour yourself a glass of white wine or iced tea, and sit down to one of the easiest—and tastiest—summer meals around.

1/2 pound cooked pasta—something small like Penne or bow tie—still hot
2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into bite size chunks
1/2 cup basil leaves, packed
8 ounces soft cheese—such as Hannahbells or mozzarella
1/8 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
optional: balsamic glaze, for drizzling

Toss together the warm pasta, tomatoes, basil leaves, cheese, and olive oil in a large bowl. Continue mixing until the cheese melts into the pasta, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm—and if you like, drizzle each serving with a tiny bit of balsamic glaze.


Gary said...


Well, you finally outdid yourself with this blog! I didn't even have to get to the recipe, I was lost in imagining I was in Wellfleet, sitting on the porch after a day at the beach, reading, reading some more, listening to the radio, sipping some wine, watching the sky go through it's beautiful evening mosaics, then going to bed....two more months until we're there.
Oh, and the pasta recipe sounds delicious too!

Anna said...

I agree with Gary--this post took me on a mini-vacation (or minibreak, as bridget jones would say)to wellfleet for a few minutes. a nice change of pace from my windowless cave in portland!

i've made this recipe using brie and, like all things brie, it's AMAZING! you absolutely need to try it.

xoxo anna

A Plum By Any Other Name said...

Was looking at the same recipe at Good Harbor beach in Gloucester on Sunday. Good to know it was such as success ... and a lazy, carefree recipe: just like a good Sunday should be!

Elspeth said...

Gary and Anna, thank you. I hope your time in Wellfleet comes soon—it is a very special place, and an even better place when you can find a moment or two to slow down!

And Anna, brie sounds like a very good idea. Yum...!

to my Plum—make it! it is indeed easy and lazy and carefree, and the perfect end to a summer day. Good Harbor sounds beautiful—I used to nanny for a family in Ipswich, and I loved those Cape Ann beaches.

All the best,


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