This wonderful, fresh summer salad is the perfect way to enjoy a bounty of basil, tomatoes and fresh garlic.  When there's lots of basil, this is fresher and more summery than pesto, and it takes advantage of the best tomatoes.  Prepare the ingredients, except chopping the basil, before you start, because the timing and sequence make this salad work.  It's especially important to put the hot pasta on the minced garlic.

2 heads garlic (or less) - chopped fine

1 lb farfalle (bow ties) pasta

2 T salt in a big pot of water

1/4 cup flavorful extra virgin olive oil

4 medium sized fresh tomatoes - cut in bite sized chunks

1/4 cup (or less) red wine vinegar - as tart (strong) as possible


1 handful of raw pine nuts

1 package feta cheese (the best - strongest flavored - you can find)

4 or 5 cups fresh basil leaves - chopped  medium

Chop the garlic, and arrange all the ingredients.  Combine the cut up tomatoes with the red wine vinegar and a some salt.  Get the basil ready, but don't chop.

Place the chopped/minced raw garlic in the bottom of a large bowl.  Spread it out so there is a lot of surface area.

Bring the pot of salted water to a boil, add the farfalle pasta and stir.

Set the timer for 6 minutes - stir and start testing at that time

When the pasta is cooked al dente, and drained, immediately dump it over the garlic.  This will heat the garlic and release the flavor, slightly cooking it.

While the pasta is still hot, pour the olive oil over the pasta, and stir in the garlic.

While it's still warm but not hot, add the tomato/vinegar mixture and toss in the handful

of pine nuts.

Let the pasta cool, slightly, while you chop the basil.

While the pasta mixture is still warm, but not so warm as to melt the cheese, crumble the feta into the bowl, and toss gently.

Fold in the basil.

It's even better after it rests.  Eat it at room temperature if possible. 

from Carol Havens