Time to eat pretty food!
Here’s the truth: I only started to enjoy tomatoes because a few summers ago I thought the heirloom variety was so pretty and I wanted to eat pretty things. And I wanted to be cool and sophisticated and eat pretty tomatoes for dinner. Like pretty tomatoes covered in salt and pepper and balsamic glaze with maybe some cheese and basil.
And that’s that. I essentially forced myself into eating them until I loved them. Which is what I’ve have to do with most vegetables, and “love” is a very strong term. But that’s another story for a different day.
I mean how can you pass up funny looking guys like this that have stripes and multicolored skin?
That’s what happened to me. They are just drop dead gorgeous.
This salad is me hanging on to summer. Yesterday it was around 65 degrees here and I could shout from the rooftops how much I adore that temperature. It’s my ideal. Breezy and cool with some sun. I’m so down.
BUT. I’m not ready to let go of tomatoes and corn and all things that come along with the horrific humidity here in these warm months. As much as I love comfort food, I seriously freak over snacky-type meals that include summer produce. And the thing is, I’m not even a pasta salad lover. Which is why I wanted to make one that forced me to become a lover. MY kind of pasta salad.
This is it.
[I almost put blueberries in it. I refrained. Thought it was a little much. Want all the blueberries. Can't stop watching the you tube bluuuuueberries video. Tell me you've seen it. That might be the problem.]
In full disclosure, Whole Foods actually provided me with a gift card so I could get some of these vibrant beauties, and I could not turn that down since, um, has a day gone by that I have not mentioned my insane obsession with tomatoes and corn to my invisible internet friends? No. I don’t think it has because most days I don’t have anything else to talk about. And all I think of is dinner.
Plus, Whole Foods is the only place I can get tomatoes this stunning… and it’s about 40 minutes away. WAH. You can’t even imagine how much I stocked up.
My initial plan was to make this corn tart with heirlooms. WHAT. Does it get any better? My two fixations in ONE dish. Hello heaven. But I figured I’d attempt to step outside of the box and be a bit more creative so I could use the heirlooms and share a recipe with you. I still incorporated grilled corn because, well, you’re just not getting out of any more recipes without it from me. But I grilled some peaches while I was at it and threw in some bacon. And cheese! All the cheese. I was seconds away from tossing in some avocado but wanted this salad to last a few days without any browning. Do it if you’d like. It’s unreal.
This just has so much stuff that I love. GAH. Freaking out.
Smoky Heirloom Tomato and Grilled Peach Pasta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
Yield: serves 4-6
Total Time: 30 minutes
1 pound whole wheat pasta, like ziti or rigatoni
2 ears sweet corn
2 peaches, sliced in half and pits removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges or chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
4 green onions, sliced
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Bring water to a boil and prepare pasta according to directions. While pasta is cooking, preheat the grill to medium-high. Brush the corn and peach halves with the olive oil, then place them directly on the grates. Grill the peaches for 1 to 2 minutes, until grill marks appears, and rotate the corn until the kernels are golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the corn and peaches and sprinkle them and the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Cut the corn off of the cob.
Make the vinaigrette by adding the basil and vinegar to a food processor and blending until the basil is in tiny pieces and the mixture is combined. Stream in the olive oil and puree until combined. Season with salt and pepper and blend to mix.
Add the pasta to a large bowl and pour the vinaigrette on top. Mix thoroughly until the pasta is coated, then stir in the tomatoes, peaches and corn. Add in the feta, onions and bacon, mixing until combined. Add a few basil leaves on top if desired and serve. This works if the pasta is still warm, but I like sticking it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so until the pasta is chilled.
p.s. I have one big heirloom left so I think we can obviously guess what I’m doing. It begins with a B and ends with a T.
[thanks to Whole Foods for sponsoring this post & providing me with a $50 gift card to purchase the heirloom tomatoes for this recipe!]