Fresh tomatoes, bright basil and creamy brie cheese combine to make a creamy pasta sauce in Tomato Brie Pasta with Fresh Basil.
What foods remind you of home?
I have a few. There’s my grandmother’s spaghetti sauce, a thick tomato sauce with sausage and ground beef that she proudly made for special occasions — and the occasional any-night. It was something she’d start in the morning, allowing to simmer for hours so the flavor would develop just right. And after spending many days in the kitchen with her, it’s a sauce I can recreate by heart.
Though it will never be quite as good as hers, it never fails to take me right back to our ranch-style house in New York that was always filled with family, friends, laughter and love. I can practically feel the linoleum floor under my feet and the press of cane stools on my knees whenever I eat it.
And there’s potato pancakes, served with warm just-made apple sauce. When I was very little, I would belly up to the counter with my aunt Deborah and help her make batches upon batches of potato pancakes, with a crisp outside and soft inside, that we’d eat with her homemade applesauce. I cannot help but smile remembering. Though I rarely make potato pancakes, I still make my aunt’s applesauce exactly as she taught me.
There’s also a recipe that my mom made when I was younger that reminds me of home. When I was a teenager, she stumbled upon a recipe for a brie and tomato pasta in a community cookbook.
It was an unusual recipe that called for combining brie cheese with tomatoes, basil and other ingredients. It would sit, and the cheese with almost melt into the tomatoes making a creamy sauce that coats pasta so well. It’s heavenly, and the sheer decadence of the sauce was something my whole family loved. Twenty years later, I still love it.
The original recipe has since been lost. But drawing on my recollections, I have recreated it. And I still love it just as much as I did as a teen.
Make this with the freshest, sweetest tomatoes you can find. I have fallen in love with the selection at the Orono Farmers Market on Saturdays, but the Bangor Farmers Market on Sundays is great too. Or go to whatever market is near you.
Then, when it’s all ready, dig in as a family. That makes any meal special.
What dishes remind you of home?
Tomato Brie Pasta with Fresh Basil
- 7 ounces brie cheese, cut into pieces (freeze for 5-10 minutes to make cutting easier)
- 2 cups fresh diced tomato
- 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 lb dried pasta of your choice
In a medium bowl, stir together the brie, tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cook the pasta, per package instructions, to al dente. Drain well.
Toss the hot pasta with the brie and tomato mixture. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.