Summer is here and with it come the heat and humidity. All the signs of summer abound on the streets of Tokyo: the ubiquitous handkerchief towel grasped in people's hands as they walk and wipe their sweat drenched faces; the dainty parasols toted by mostly older Japanese ladies; the kakigori (shaved ice) and ice cream banners hanging storefront; and for me, the ultimate sound of summer, the sonorous singing of the cicada.
What to eat in this summer heat? We've been eating cold noodles-soba, hiyamugi and ramen-but I've been craving pasta. Thanks to a small harvest of our rooftop planter-grown cherry tomatoes and a thriving basil plant, a quick and simple lunch was at hand. The cherry tomatoes on their own raw were a tad tart, but slightly sauteed in olive oil, they transformed into cherry bombs of sweetness. Summer is good!
This is not a saucy pasta dish.
150 g spaghetti
1 garlic clove, chopped
About 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
About 1/4 cup of basil leaves
Boil the spaghetti in a pot of salted water until al dente. Save about a half cup of the pasta boiling water. Drain pasta and set aside. In the same pot, on low heat, saute the chopped garlic in about 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Just before the garlic starts browning, turn up the heat to medium high and add in the cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Add some salt and pepper and toss gently for about a minute or two. Add the pasta and a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water and toss gently. Add a bit more pasta water if the noodles start sticking to the pan.
Sprinkle over a bit more olive oil and serve with some grated parmesan.