Summer Spaghetti with a Surprise Twist

Here’s a recipe for Summer Spaghetti with a surprise and a twist. It’s from an old Family Circle magazine; I keep all my treasured recipes safe on one shelf in my kitchen. This recipe is unique because cold tomato sauce is ladled over hot pasta. And as I took a second glance at the magazine spread for “best pasta dishes,” I realized that it was ahead of the times — the recipes fit into the guidelines for the heart healthy Mediterranean Diet. So enjoy a delicious pasta recipe that’s healthy, too!summer-spaghetini-estivi-img_1221_1

I like to make this recipe in the summer. It is best with garden ripe, juicy tomatoes. And fresh basil which is easily grown in a garden gives the dish a zesty flavor. A few ripe tomatoes can still be found — I’ve learned that hot house or “vine ripened” tomatoes available year-around in grocery markets also can be used.

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is the traditional style of eating of the people of Italy and Mediterranean region. It consists of a diet rich in plant foods — vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts. Very little meat is consumed — primarily fish and chicken. Olive oil is used in cooking and the diet includes some wine. Countless studies have shown that people who follow this lifestyle and diet are healthier — they have less heart disease and other chronic diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and some forms of cancer. Shouldn’t we all be eating this diet? Yes, this is an idea.

Family Circle Magazine Article

The Family Circle magazine ran a spread the April 1880 issue about “The 9 Greatest Pasta Dishes.” I liked the recipes so much that I saved the magazine, keeping in on my shelf of “treasured recipes.”family-circle-magazine-img_1180_1

When I got the magazine out this summer to make “Summer Spaghetti”, I realized how ahead of the times this article was. Without ever knowing, the Italian chef and cookbook author, Jack Denton Scott, was following the Mediterranean Diet. Pasta was the primary ingredient in the dishes, other ingredients complemented the pasta; meat was an

What were we wearing in 1883?

I also saved the magazine because there are instructions for several crocheted sweaters. Not that I”ll ever crochet, but the thought is there. It gives an interesting glimpse into the hairstyles and dress of this era. Fun to reminisce — and my daughter calls these clothes “vintage”. Hey, I’m vintage!family-circle-magazine-crocheted-sweaters-2-img_1184

Summer Spaghetti Recipe

One of my favorite recipes in the “The 9 Greatest Pasta Dishes” article is “Summer Spaghetti”. This recipe is room temperature, marinated tomatoes served over hot pasta. What a surprise! Olive oil, lemon juice, parsley and basil, salt and pepper complement the flavor of the tomatoes. And the recipe includes lots of garlic. Yum. It’s hard to stop eating the pasta dish.

Making the Recipe

This article was so old that the contracts governing the rights to the Material are no longer available at Meredith Corporation which owns Family Circle Magazine. Meredith has no objection to the use of the recipe although they don’t represent others, such as the author’s estate, who could own rights to the material. I want to reproduce the recipe exactly as written to get the full impact of eating the “Mediterranean Diet” from an Italian’s point of view, so I’m taking a chance that the author’s estate won’t mind. It’s really a complement to him..

Here are the ingredients.ingredients-img_1190

Blanch the tomatoes for a few minutes in boiling water. Peel and dice. Six medium tomatoes yielded 5 cups of diced tomatoes. Drain the chopped tomatoes for 1 hour.draining-chopped-tomatoes-img_1200

Add the other ingredients and set aside while cooking the pasta.tomatoes-with-other-ingredients-img_1204

Cook the pasta. The author gives specific instructions for cooking pasta correctly — he uses a large pot of water and adds butter after the pasta is drained so it doesn’t stick together.

Drain the pasta, mix in half of the tomatoes quickly. Serve immediately, ladle a dollop of the remaining tomatoes over the rest of the pasta on individual plates.

It makes a healthy and delicious recipe which follows the Mediterranean Diet. Enjoy!summer-spaghetti-2-img_1219_1

Spaghettini Estivi (Summer Spaghetti) by Jack Denton Scott

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Serves 6.


  • 6 medium-size very ripe tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
  • 10 fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp leaf basil, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 pound spaghettini (spaghetti)
  • 2 Tbsp butter

Method and Steps

  1. Dip tomatoes in boiling water for 15 seconds; peel, chop. Put tomatoes in a strainer over a bowl; let drain about 1 hour.
  2. Combine drained tomatoes, parsley, basil, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper ina large bowl; reserve.
  3. Cook pasta and drain…adding butter to the bowl.
  4. Toss half the sauce with the buttered pasta, working fast to keep the pasta hot. Place dollops of the remaining sauce atop the individual servings.

“Originally published in Family Circle® magazine, April 1980.” Reprinted without objection of Meredith Corporation.


2 thoughts on “Summer Spaghetti with a Surprise Twist

  1. I love this recipe! I’ve used it for years and made it for friends when we served overseas. I recently heard from one that she was making it this year and was reminded of me. I don’t blanch and peel the tomatoes though and it works just fine.

    • Hello, Memories! How nice that a friend remembers a meal that you made. If you have good ripe tomatoes, I’m sure skipping the blanching step works. Yes, I love tomatoes and this is a good way to use then. Thanks for stopping by my blog! (Never throw away a good recipe!)

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