I should be jealous of Ed Giobbi. My wife turns to his cookbooks more often than to mine, and the guy isn't even a professional cook or writer. He's a highly successful artist. Cooking is his hobby. One of Ed's claims to fame is that he invented the now well-known dish call Pasta Primavera. When Sirio Maccioni opened the first Le Cirque restaurant in 1976, he asked Ed if he knew of a recipe for pasta that would be a bit different and new. Ed boasted about a dish his grandmother had made, which consisted of room-temperature raw tomato pieces combined with hot pasta. Ed halved, seeded, then diced ripe tomatoes and mixed them with black pepper, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, shredded basil, and finely chopped onion and garlic. As soon as the pasta cooked, he drained it and tossed it with the tomato mixture. He served the dish immediately, with grated Parmesan cheese. It is one of my favorite meals in the summer when the vines in my garden sag under the weight of ripe tomatoes. The tomato salad is also great on top of crostini toasts.
For the Tomato Salad/Sauce: Cut the tomatoes in 1/2 crosswise, parallel to the stems, and gently press the seeds out. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch pieces, and put them in a bowl large enough to hold the finished dish. Add the remaining salad ingredients and toss well.
For the Pasta: Salt the water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, stir well, bring back to a boil, and boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, more or less, depending on how firm you like your pasta. Add a 6-ounce ladle of the hot pasta water to the tomato salad. Drain the pasta in a colander, and add it immediately to the tomato salad. Toss thoroughly, and divide the pasta among 4 soup plates. Sprinkle generously with the cheese, and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy Jacques Pepin, The Apprentice, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003