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Summer Pasta with Tomato, Arugula, Basil, and Red Onion

By • Jun 4th, 2007 • Category: Pasta Print Print


1 box ziti or pasta of choice
4 vine-ripened tomatoes, in large dice
1 ½ c. baby arugula
1 c. basil leaves
½ small red onion, chopped
1 ½ T. good quality balsamic vinegar
About ¼ c. olive oil
Salt and fresh black pepper
Cold Fontina cheese (optional)

To prepare:
In a small bowl add vinegar and red onions, stir well and let stand for about 10 minutes.

Next, in a fairly shallow casserole dish, add diced tomatoes, basil, arugula, and onions along with the vinegar. Add about half of the oil. Sprinkle in about a teaspoon of kosher salt and combine. Gently mix as you would a salad, to coat all the veggies with the dressing. While the pasta is cooking continue to gently fold the veggies.

Bring a large pot of well salted water to boil. When the water boils add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Drain the pasta, quickly, and, without rinsing, add it to the casserole dish. Fold the pasta in gently bringing the veggies up from the bottom to the top, until well combined. If desired, add about five gratings, using the larger blade of a box grater, of Fontina cheese. Season with more salt if necessary and plenty of black pepper. Serve at room temperature. This pasta is equally delicious as it cools.

Fontina is a fairly soft cheese, that melts quite nicely. Keeping the cheese cold makes grating or slicing much easier. Macerating* the onions in vinegar not only softens the onions but imparts a subtile and delicious flavor with out any overbearing vinegar flavor.

*Macerating is process used in food preparation where raw, dried or preserved fruit or vegetables are soaked in a seasoned, usually acidic, liquid before cooking. Macerating is often confused with “marinating.” The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, however they have a different purpose. Macerating refers to the softening or breaking down of tough fibers in foods using a liquid. This process not only helps make food more flavorful, it also makes them easier to digest. This is especially helpful with raw onions. Fruit, on the other hand, is usually sprinkled with sugar and a little fresh lemon, then left to sit and release their own juices.

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is Toni Fiore was raised by an Italian-American father and a German mother who instilled in her a sociable nature and the love of travel and of good food. She has lived in Italy and Germany and now resides in southern Maine. She is the author of: Totally Vegetarian: Easy, Fast, Comforting Cooking for Every Kind of Vegetarian
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This is soooo delicious that I prepare it all year long! During the summer months I use halved cherry tomatoes. I absolutely love this show. Not only are the recipes wonderful, but Toni is very calm and just so "real," nothing pretentious about her at all. This is so refreshing. Thanks for everything and keep up the good work!


I caught the end of your show today and want to try the watercress soup. Couldn't find the receipe on this website. Could you send it to me please. Looks great. Thanks for being vegetarian!

Toni Aiosa
Toni Aiosa

I've seen the show a couple of times, but yesterday I saw this one with the 2 pasta's. I can't wait to make the one with the edamame today for dinner. I'll start watching more often!


I love your show. This was my first time view it but I'm glad I found it. I've wanted to cook more vegitarian dishes but could't find recipes that my family would appreciate. Thanks for this episode. It will ease them into vegitarian dishes.


Hi Dotty, The name of the market is Salumeria Italiana. Emily is veery helpful and will assist you with your vinegar needs! Thanks for watching and writing. Toni


I love the receipes so far that I have tried. You visited to a shop in the North End of Boston for this episode for Balsamic vinegar. Could you let me know the name of the place? I'd like to explore it some time.

Vikki Dunn
Vikki Dunn

Iam right in the place of switching over to all veggies & this receipe is wonderful I will try this & acouple more share with others who are interested.Thank u soooo much.


  1. [...] this I made up a pasta salad.  I sort of followed part of a recipe from Totally Vegetarian.  I included whole wheat farfalle, roasted red peppers, black olives, fresh basil, and lettuce, [...]

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