“A Simple Sauce, Dave’s Tomatoes & an Ode by Pablo Neruda”


My son-in-law, David,  has the magic touch when it comes to growing almost anything. He plants casually like a seasoned farmer. He does not fuss or worry, but accepts that things will grow, or not, depending on the weather. Tomatoes grow well for him in bad years, but this year, a good year, his plants are laden. He and my daughter, Whitney, are very generous with their bounty. See the big beauties above? Yep, those are David’s Cherokee Purple tomatoes.

 Vine ripened, just picked tomatoes. I am moved by their shapeliness, their innate lack of sameness and their color wheel of “reds, oranges & pinks”.

This is my favorite hot-summer, no-cook tomato sauce. It can only be made “right now” with just picked Summer tomatoes. Fresh, no fuss, quick and just plain good.

Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

You only need a few ingredients….Fresh homegrown tomatoes, a few basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, smashed garlic cloves, a good fruity olive oil, salt & pepper, a splash of red wine vinegar and just grated Parmesan cheese to scatter over the top.


If you live in Nashville stop by Lazzaroli’s on 5th Avenue North in Historic Germantown. Tom has an amazing selection of olive oils. I picked up this bottle of Madonna Olive Oil especially for this dish. It’s amazing.


Cook up some pasta al dente.


Toss the sauce with the pasta, scatter Parmesan over the top…stay cool, eat well.


 “Ode to Tomatoes” by Pablo Neruda

 …..at the midpoint
of summer,
the tomato,
star of earth,
and fertile
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.


No-Cook Fresh Summer Tomato Sauce for Pasta

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print
Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce
  • 2 Large or 4 smaller size vine-ripened Tomatoes, cored & chopped
  • a small handful of fresh Basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/3 cup good quality fruity olive oil
  • 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
  • Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese



  1. Add the chopped tomatoes, chopped basil, pine nuts & garlic to a mixing bowl
  2. Pour in olive oil & vinegar and toss well.
  3. Season with salt & pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
  4. Chill until ready to serve covered.
  5. Serve with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan, a crusty loaf to sop the juices on your plate and your favorite summer wine.

Notes: Unlike a cooked sauce, this is just a mouthful of summer. I have been making this for years and only eat it in the middle of tomato season. Some dishes have to wait for the right season to enjoy, such is this one.

Any homegrown tomatoes will work great. I used some of my baby tomatoes in this dish to add texture.  Probably 2 lbs of tomatoes would be good for this recipe for two servings. Just increase to feed more.

31 thoughts on ““A Simple Sauce, Dave’s Tomatoes & an Ode by Pablo Neruda”

  1. Oh, how I wish I had a talent for growing things… Unfortunately I don’t… 🙁 As long as you know someone who does that’s fine though… 🙂
    I have a similar non-cooking tomato sauce recipe. It’s perfect for summertime and as you said, can only really be done during tomato season as they have to be extra delicious. I love the look of this and even though it’s nighttime, I’m getting hungry again, thinking about going to the kitchen again. I do have all ingredients. 🙂 Great post, Teresa, thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

    1. I am not sure I have a talent for growing anything much, but this is the year of the tomato here in Middle Tennessee…almost any novice or seasoned gardener has bucket loads of homegrowns. I wish I could send some to you.

  2. This sounds sooooo delcious! My tomatoes are not doing well this year…..will hope friends will be generous with their bounty so I can try this, Teresa! How lucky your son-in- law has a green thumb and shares the fruit of his labor. Your photographs are gorgeous and seductive, as always.

  3. I am not one of those people (as many friends are) who love tomatoes so much they will eat them out of hand in the garden. I know, it’s heresy for a Southerner. But if there was anything that might make me change my “tomatoes have to be cooked, at least just a bit” philosophy, this would be it!

  4. Eat well is right, I know your pasta had to be delicious. I’m patiently waiting for my tomatoes to ripen. Some of them are just starting to turn a little red.

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