Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes and Cucumbers
6 very large, ripe, fresh tomatoes, cored
1 medium cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise in quarters, and seeds removed
2 cloves garlic, minced in a garlic press
Half of a small red onion, finely minced
½ cup very good olive oil
About a tablespoon of very good balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
A handful of fresh basil leaves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
1 pound thin spaghetti
Cut the cored tomatoes in half through the equator. One at a time, hold each half over a large bowl, and squeeze gently to release the liquid and seeds. You can get more out with a teaspoon. Set the tomatoes aside, and add the olive oil, two teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, the minced garlic, minced onions, the oregano, and some salt and pepper to the bowl. Dice the tomatoes up into about half-inch pieces, and add them. Then cut the cucumber quarters into quarter-inch slices and add them to the bowl. Mix everything well and let it sit for about an hour. Taste it when you put the pasta water on to boil and add salt, pepper, or more balsamic.
About 20 minutes before the hour is up, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add about a tablespoon of salt, then cook the spaghetti until it’s just done to your liking. Remove about a cup of the pasta cooking water and put it in a shallow baking dish to cool quickly. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl with the tomato mixture. Add the cheese and basil and stir everything together. Let it sit for a minute and add some pasta water if the mixture seems too dry. Serve right away.