My husband and I got married in Positano, Italy . . . way back in 1993.  We then spent a little time touring Tuscany, and discovered what has become our favorite city in all of Italy — Siena.  While there, we also discovered one of our favorite pasta dishes that is the perfect way to experience summer in Italy . . . without leaving your own backyard. 

Here’s what you need:

  • penne pasta (preferably whole wheat by Naturae, but I’ll leave that up to you)
  • olive oil
  • fresh basil leaves
  • ripe tomatoes (I use grape or plum tomatoes)
  • mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper

Some people also use garlic, but since I have an allergy to it, it’s never in any of my recipes.

Here’s all you do . . .

  • cube the mozzarella cheese
  • cube the tomatoes
  • chop the basil leaves (but not too small)
  • mix it all together will a little olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • let this stand so the flavors will blend together . . . about an hour. Or, you can make it ahead of time, put in the fridge and bring it out to get to room temperature, for about an hour before you plan to eat.

Then .  . .

  • cook the penne, al dente (usually 2 minutes less than what the directions on the package)
  • as soon as you drain the pasta, put it into a large bowl, add the tomato mixture, mix well with the pasta, and . . . enjoy!

You may want to add a little grated or shaved parmigiana cheese on top.  Serve with a glass of Terra di Tufi (a fantastic white wine we also discovered on our honeymoon). You will swear you hear the church bells of Siena.


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