Roberto and I had a date at home this past week. We didn’t feel like going out, but it was date night, so we planned a nice dinner at home. You can create a wonderful atmosphere at home, especially during the summer when you can dine al fresco! When dining al fresco you usually want to eat something fresh as well!

I have really been craving summer tomato sauce. Not that wonderful hearty, deep slow-cooked for 3 days and it still takes a few days in the fridge until it is at its peak kind sauce, but a quick, light summer tomato sauce that is fresh rather than complex. This is what we prepared together for our romantic at home date. This is a marinara recipe that you will keep forever as it is simple and so easy to make; you barely even have to be in the kitchen with it until the very end. This is the ultimate Summer Marinara and it is also my entry for Ruth’s
Presto Pasta Nights over at Once Upon a Feast.



4 medium vine tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper
fresh basil
pecorino Romano cheese, grated

optional ingredients:
any summer veggie of your choice
sun dried tomatoes
pine nuts
arugula or spinach

Pasta of your choice – we used tortellini, but penne also is nice for this dish.


Preheat your oven to 450 F. Cut an X into the “butt” of your tomatoes (opposite side of where the stem comes out). Place tomatoes vine side down onto a foil lined baking dish. Drizzle butts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes or until skin begins to pull away from the X.


Peel the skin from your tomato by using the X as the beginning point.

Sautee some onion and garlic and your veggie of choice (we used mushrooms)in extra virgin olive oil. After the onion has begun to soften, place your tomatoes in the pan and mush up with a wooden spoon. Reduce liquid by about half or until is has become the consistency of sauce. Then add your greens, pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, cheese and toss with your cooked pasta. Add a little extra basil, and cheese on top for good measure and there’s dinner, full of the splendor of the summertime garden!