Every year my mom's tomato crop gets bigger and bigger. When I was a kid, I couldn't understand the inexplicable reason why her pasta got better in the summer - she canned the same tomatoes and we ate them all winter long. I now realize it's because those fresh summer tomatoes are cooked a lot less - and, of course, because nothing is better than a fresh tomato (except maybe a fresh tomato sprinkled with salt). The pasta sauces of my youth always had a touch of cream, but I prefer a dollop of homemade ricotta (using Jennifer Perillo's recipe). A few handfuls of good cherry tomatoes make it even better - I love the way the juices burst as you fork your way through the pasta. —Erin McDowell
extra virgin olive oil
medium onion, very thinly sliced
fresh plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
cloves garlic, smashed to a paste
two handfuls cherry tomatoes, assorted colors is prettiest
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.