Fresh tomato and goats cheese spaghetti

I’m a staunch supporter of eating with the seasons, but that’s not to say I aways find it easy.  After so many months of root veg and good-for-you greens like cabbage and kale, I was genuinely excited to see the first crops of spring and summer vegetables slowly rear their heads in the vegetable section of the Farm Direct website.  Onion flowers popped up there last week as part of the new seashore and foraged selection and were completely new to me.  They are incredibly vibrant and pungent, similar to ransom flowers but packing even more of an allium punch.  They’re great sprinkled over risottos and pasta, or at the very end of a stir-fry, or with wilted greens.

Tonight’s dinner was a celebration of a selection of the new and exciting, perhaps more honestly known as what’s-left-in-the-fridge-at-the-end-of-the-week, but is none the worse for being a bit of a makeshift supper.

Fresh tomato and goats cheese spaghetti 
Serves two with leftover sauce
This is a lighter tomato sauce than the type I make in winter, where all I have are tinned tomatoes.  The first of the summer’s tomatoes don’t need such aggressive cooking and reducing, so I think a slug of white wine fits better with the altogether lighter, summery feel. British beef or large vine tomatoes are just showing up in the shops now (Farm Direct’s are from the Isle of Wight) and are full of flavour. They’re also pretty good value, certainly compared to the smaller, more salad-friendly tomatoes so are an inexpensive way to give an early taste of summer, even if its still a bit chilly of an evening and you’ve still got socks and a thick jumper on. 

1 onion, sliced
2 beef tomatoes (or any selection of tomatoes), approx 1kg, roughly chopped
Slug of white wine
Spaghetti or other pasta of your choice, enough for two
Half a bulb or one spring-onion-esque stick of green garlic, sliced finely
Small handful of basil leaves, torn
150g tub of goats cheese
Rapeseed oil to drizzle
Onion flowers to scatter on top

1. Fry the onion until soft.
2. Add the roughly chopped tomatoes and the wine and let the sauce cook down for about 30 minutes to an hour, depending how much juice the tomatoes have. It will thicken but I’d suggest you don’t reduce it too much or you’ll lose the summery vibe.  If your tomatoes came on a vine, add that to the sauce and fish it out before serving.  It will impart even more tomatoey flavour to the sauce.
3. About after 30 minutes cooking the sauce, cook the pasta.  You don’t me me to tell you how to do that.
4.  When the pasta is cooked, drain and catch a little of the pasta water.
5. Add the green garlic to the tomatoes and stir round, taste the sauce and add any seasoning you think you need.
6. Add a good few spoonfuls of the sauce to the pasta, tossing around over a very low heat to allow the pasta to soak up some tomato juice.  Add the torn basil leaves and toss about a bit more.
7. Divide the pasta and sauce between plates, and add spoonfuls of goats cheese, a sprinkling of onion flowers and a drizzle of rapeseed oil.

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