Weeknight Cooking

The Canal House's Mezzi Rigatoni with Tomatoes, Lots of Herbs, Hot Oil, and Mozzarella

July 21, 2014

All week long, Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton of The Canal House will be sharing their recipes from last year's Canal House Cooking, Volume 8: Pronto! And we're giving away a copy every day this week. Open up a bottle of Sangiovese and follow along to bring a little Italy into your home.

Today: Pasta with freshly-picked ingredients from the garden -- a simple, unadorned pleasure.

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Imagine it's a sunny summer day. You're hungry, so you walk out into the garden, pick ripe tomatoes off the vine, cut a big handful of parsley, mint, basil, chives, maybe some rosemary and a little thyme, then head into the kitchen to make this simple pasta dish. The tomatoes are still warm from the sun, and your hands smell of licorice, pine, and mint. It's already a heady experience and you've only just begun. When you mix the herbs in a bowl with hot olive oil, their fragrance immediately fills the air and the tomatoes release their juices, mingling with the oily goodness in the bowl. The warm pasta goes in next, along with some tender fresh mozzarella, and in no time you've satisfied your hunger in a big way. Try it sometime.

Mezzi Rigatoni with Tomatoes, Lots of Herbs, Hot Oil, and Mozzarella

Serves 6

4 to 5 ripe tomatoes in season (about 2 pounds)
2 cups loosely packed, mixed fresh herbs such as basil, mint, parsley, and/or chives, chopped
3/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound mezzi rigatoni or other short, tubular pasta
Salt and pepper
1 pound fresh mozzarella, diced

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

We're giving away a copy of Canal House Cooking, Volume 8: Pronto! every day this week! To enter to win today's copy, tell us in the comments: What is your favorite summer pasta dish? We'll choose winners next Monday, July 28th.

Photo by The Canal House. Excerpted from the book Canal House Cooking, Volume 8: Pronto! by Christopher Hersheimer and Melissa Hamilton. Reprinted by permission of The Canal House. All rights reserved.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Written by: The Canal House


cookinginvictoria July 28, 2014
It's a tie between pasta topped with very quickly cooked fresh marinara sauce (simply made with garden fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil, finished with the very best extra virgin olive oil) or pasta served with fresh pesto made with mint and basil, green beans and new potatoes.
natalie July 25, 2014
pasta with pesto, sun dried tomatoes, and feta
pretty_pathetic July 25, 2014
Pasta salad with olives, feta, and (like this recipe!) lots of herbs.
Crystal C. July 23, 2014
Pasta with freshly made pesto
Green M. July 22, 2014
Fresh pesto + sun-ripened tomatoes.
Julia H. July 22, 2014
My favorite fast summertime pasta is small, young zucchini cut into 1/4" rounds, sauteed in butter, olive oil and garlic then simmered gently with cream. Toss with cooked pasta; add torn basil leaves, salt, fresh ground pepper and freshly grated parmesan. YUMMY!
EmFraiche July 22, 2014
I love pasta with sauteed cherry tomatoes in the summer time!
Allison July 22, 2014
I love this recipe from Proud Italian Cook. http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2012/03/little-lasagnas-with-tomato-burrata-and.html (Basically mini lasagna but with fresh ingredients, it is so tasty.)
Beth July 22, 2014
grated zucchini quickly sautéed with oil and garlic, tossed as the sauce over spaghetti, topped with lemon zest, basil and parmesan.
simple, fresh, and perfect for eating (and quickly preparing!) after a day at the beach
kay213 July 22, 2014
Warm tomatoes from the garden, fresh basil, garlic, good olive oil. Left to marinate on the counter for a couple of hours. You could also add fresh mozzarella or feta. Toss with hot pasta
Sj D. July 22, 2014
With lots of grilled fresh vegetables and cherry tomatoes and pesto...tastes yumm hot and even better the next day as a cold salad
kgohl July 22, 2014
Pasta with caramelized onions, corn cut off the cob, chanterelles just picked in the woods, a little basil that needs to be used, and cream.
CarlaCooks July 22, 2014
I love making 'clean out the CSA box' pasta. I roast any left-over vegetables, add to pasta cooked 1 minute shy of al dente, mix in with some creme fraiche and other odd bits of cheese I have laying around, top with breadcrumbs, and bake until everything is nice and bubbly.
kara K. July 22, 2014
Angel Hair with Spicy Shrimp
Marissa July 21, 2014
Simple pasta salad with fresh summer veggies, especially mixed tomatoes, mozzarella, and some olive oil.
Kate July 21, 2014
That little piece of mozzarella tucked into one of those rigatoni is killer. Oh man.

My favorite summer pasta dish is pesto and pasta, with extra parmesan cheese, maybe a little mozzarella, and a few very good, slightly underripe cherry tomatoes. Maybe some chicken.

But the salad that really screams 'summer' to my inner child is a classic macaroni salad, with homemade mayo, pickles, eggs, all that good stuff :)
Pegeen July 23, 2014
How great would it be to have a couple children on hand to actually stuff each tube with chunks of mozzarella?!
Kate July 23, 2014
Pardon me while I go wrangle up a few of my friends' kids and make them wash their hands...
Pegeen July 21, 2014
I plan to mess around with zucchini & curry ideas from this recipe, combined with a “kinky” pasta (radiatore, etc.) Toasted bread crumbs should as pasta topping.

Zucchini Tian with Curried Bread Crumbs. Melissa Clark, New York Times.
arcane54 July 21, 2014
Oops... Just saw that post below by Audrey G. Great minds, eh? I like the addition of creamy goat cheese. I'll have to give that a try. I've Ben hoke don the ginger scallion sauce with chick e from Momofuku. In fact I think it would be good on just about any pasta and protein combo.
arcane54 July 21, 2014
Garden-ripe tomatoes, garlic, good olive oil; slat and leave at room temperature for an hour or so. Boil up some linguine (fresh if you can get or make it). As soon as the pasta is cooked al denote, drain and our the fresh tomato mixture over. Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan and fresh-ground black pepper. Taste summer.
Audrey July 21, 2014
I was introduced to this summer pasta favorite by my boyfriend's family, who make it nearly weekly in the summer! You make a raw tomato sauce of diced tomatoes (the best you can find) and lots of shredded/chopped basil. You cook your preferred pasta (I like campanelle), drain it and save a tablespoon or two of pasta water. Combine the hot pasta back in the pot with a bit of reserved pasta water as well as the diced tomatoes and basil, then mix in as much goat cheese as you can handle! Season it with salt and pepper and serve ASAP. It's incredibly similar to this recipe above which makes me think the Canal House's recipe might soon also be going into heavy rotation for me in future summers!