48. J’s Brie-Basil Pasta

J and I went to an academic summer camp when we were both 17; I think it was the first time I felt surrounded by so many intelligent and interesting people in the same small place. J and I remained friends over the years, seeing each other when we happened to be in the same city. He came to my wedding and gave me a recipe card RSVP that only said “let’s talk about this one in person…” – eventually, he sent me the following recipe, but cautioned me to wait through the winter months before I attempted it, because fresh tomatoes and fresh basil were key to the meal.

1. 4 large ripe tomatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2. I pound Brie, rind removed, broken into irregular smallish pieces

3. 1 cup fresh basil leaves rinsed, patted dry and cut into strips

4. 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced

5. 1 cup best quality olive oil

6. 1/2 teaspoon salt

7. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8. 1 1/2 pound linguine 9or other pasta)

9. Fresh grated parmigiana-Reggiano

At least 2 hours before serving combine 1-7 in large serving bowl. I usually cover and let sit at room temperature to blend flavors. Also, I put the Brie in the freezer for about 10 minutes before trying to remove the rind. Putting in the freezer helps make it firmer and easier to remove. Otherwise you tend to lose a lot of the Brie as the rind does not come off very well.

Boil the linguine. When done, toss with the tomato mixture. Add grated cheese as desired.

I chose to make this recipe on a day when Husband and I were going to an outdoor festival and I knew we’d be hungry and ready for something savory and fresh when we got home – it helped us resist the funnel cake and fried chicken at the festival, which can’t hurt, right? After a truly spectacular breezy Sunday afternoon, we returned to the bowl of spicings and cheese and tomatoes: I’d frozen the brie for too long, so instead of breaking it into pieces I’d shaved the rind off with a knife and grated the whole thing into the bowl. We made fettuccine and the whole house filled with the pungent Brie scent and the snap of garlic. We twirled the pasta noodles and our lips got coated in cheesy sauce. I used all the fresh basil we had in our garden, which was good timing because the little bucket we’ve been growing herbs in is now swamped with water from recent rains. Hopefully it will dry out and grow back, because this might be my favorite dish yet. I didn’t get quite as much brie as he suggested (I did 8 ounces, plus a spare ounce of goat cheese I had lying around, for one pound of pasta) but I bet it would have been delightful if I had.

What is the quintessential dish of summer for you? I cannot imagine a flavor more summery than basil and tomato, cheese and garlic all rolled together and eaten with the window open and the twilight breeze blowing through the house.

13 comments on “48. J’s Brie-Basil Pasta

  1. kjennings952 says:

    I make this pasta every summer when the tomatoes and basil are at peak. It is deliciously naughty! Try adding just a squeeze of lemon and some zest–it really brings out the fresh flavors.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on Symphony of Flavor and commented:
    This sounds amazing! Can’t wait to try it now that I have some fresh basil growing in the garden.


  3. Anything that can be grilled works for me during the summertime.


  4. recipeboxgal says:

    The quintessential dish of summer for me is sliders. Any kind! Chicken, beef, vegan. Yum. This looks delicious.


  5. Yummy! This will be an upcoming dinner at my house. đŸ™‚


  6. kwlowery says:

    Looks delicious! We just got our first tomato out of the garden, and my basil is starting to take off. Can’t wait to try this!


  7. jillys2016 says:

    Grilled fruit! Pineapple, pears, peaches, just to name a few. Some do well just cut in half and placed on the grill, others are easier to chunk and skewer. I marinate pineapple in white wine, or not. Add fresh rosemary to change things up. There are many ways to go with this.


  8. Linda says:

    This looks tasty, although I’m not a big fan of brie. That is not a problem as I have been known to substitute an item or two here and there (ahem). I have basil, but the tomato plant a colleague gave me is still a rather little, bare thing and may never be more than that (my last attempt at growing tomatoes was not a great success). However, the ones in the stores are looking good now.

    One of our favorite summer dishes is Beef and Lime Rice Salad, which is basically a kind of taco salad. Very quick and refreshing.


  9. Tony says:

    That looms tasty!


  10. […] for the whole time I was gone, and I noticed that the basil is thick and lush again (time for more Brie-Basil Pasta, […]


  11. That looks yummy! And thanks for liking my post about Irena’s cookbook – I would love it if you could share with your friends! It’s a good book – and she’s pretty poor:)


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