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20111013-204746.jpgOn our trip to Rome this summer I had a delicious pasta dish similar to this one. It was so good that I knew I wanted to recreate it when I got home. I searched high and low for the perfect recipe and couldn’t find one. Finally I saw a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that I altered to create my favorite pasta dish from Rome. I love the simplicity of it and how all the flavors work together to make this ordinary looking dish into something extraordinary. 

Serves: 4 to 6     Time: 30 minutes (plus time to let tomatoes sit)


  • 5 large ripe tomatoes (2.5 pounds) halved, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh basil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 ounces penne or fusilli
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch chunks


  1. Combine the tomatoes, oil, basil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let sit out (do not refrigerate) for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours. Stirring occasionally.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente, make sure to reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, and then drain.
  3. Toss the pasta with the tomato mixture, add some of the cooking water as needed to loosen the consistency of the sauce. Then stir in the fresh mozzarella.