Since the tomatoes here are not cooked, you'll really notice their flavor--or lack of it. Make this sauce in the summer when fresh tomatoes are at their peak. The garlic is heated briefly in the oil, and then the garlicky oil is tossed with the spaghetti so the flavor is dispersed throughout the dish. The pasta is equally good warm and at room temperature.
2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 6), chopped
3/4 pound salted fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup halved and pitted black olives
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
How to Make It
In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes with the mozzarella, basil, olives, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain, add to the tomato mixture, and toss.
Heat the oil in a small frying pan over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour the oil over the pasta and toss again.
Variations: Add some drained capers, chopped red onion, or grated Parmesan to the pasta.
Wine Recommendation: Valpolicella, the crisp, fruity, cherry-scented wine from the shores of Lake Garda in the Veneto, is the perfect hot-weather wine for tomato-and-herb-based dishes. Try one here for a delightful accompaniment.