From The Silver Palate Cookbook. I’ve never tried this recipe, but it sounded fresh and summery and deliciously simple, so I found the best tomatoes one can find this time of year and got to work.
4 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 pound of Brie, rind removed and torn into irregular pieces (yes, you read that right… a POUND)
1 cup fresh basil, cut into strips
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup best quality olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds linguine
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish (optional)
At least two hours before serving, combine tomatoes, Brie, basil, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper into a large serving bowl. It’s important to do this well in advance so that the cheese and tomato juices slowly begin to break down into the olive oil.
Boil your pasta in salted water until tender but still a bit firm.
Drain pasta and immediately toss with your prepared tomato sauce. Serve at once with fresh pepper and Parmigiano-Reggiano is desired. Serves four.
You can definitely substitute the Brie with fresh Mozzerella instead and it would be good, but it would be missing the unique flavor of Brie and the creaminess that comes from it melting a bit. I began to question the quantity it called for, but realized I didn’t have enough tomatoes in the mix. If it looks like way too much, obviously they are going by large summer tomatoes, which aren’t available right now.
I was also trying to use up the pasta I have in my pantry, so instead of linguine (which would have been ideal with such a chunky sauce), I used a partial box of regular fettucine and a package of saffron fettuccine I’ve had sitting around for months since my last pilgrimage to Dean & DeLuca in St. Helena, Napa.
This is a good summer dish, somewhere between a meal and a pasta salad type of dish. I think some torn up french bread left to marinate in the tomato sauce and less pasta would be really good, but even better? Way less pasta and large handfuls of uncooked baby rocket tossed in. I was determined to not use the additional Parmesan because of how much Brie was in it already, but it definitely added a great flavor to the mix that balanced well against the acidity of the tomatoes, the strong licorice-ness of the basil, and the smoothness and saltiness of the Brie. Problems with this dish is that it does not appear to be something that keeps well unless you take it out and let it slowly warm up to room temperature. I can see this being a great thing to add to a family summer potluck. Too easy. Aaaand… not the most impressive picture: