I am a terrible gardener—JulieGrimes puts me to shame with her backyard garden.I’ll put a lot of things in the ground in the spring, and then I’ll start toneglect the garden when I feel defeated by the weeds and the weather gets toohot. This still usually works out OK for me (the garden finds a way to thrive),but this summer has been especially brutal. So my garden is now fried. Yet evenin its death throes, it selflessly offers up a bounty, which I do not deserve,like what you see in the picture. It’s shameful, like the boy you’re mean to incollege who still gives you all his class notes and remembers your birthday.

SinceI’m fortunate enough to have lots of tomatoes right now, and doubly luckybecause my kids adore them (they eat big ones like apples, slurping over aplate to catch the juices), I’ve been making this pasta dish a lot. I love itfor its simplicity—for its pure, uncomplicated flavors. All you need are fiveingredients (not counting salt and pepper) and about 15 minutes.

Cook 5 sliced garlic clovesin 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.Toss in about 4 cups chopped/halved heirloom tomatoes (I use a mix of coarselychopped beefsteak tomatoes, wedges of smaller globe tomatoes, and halved cherryor pear tomatoes). Increase heat to medium, and cook about 5 minutes—just untiltomatoes start to soften. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.Toss with 4 cups cooked pasta (I like fun short shapes like strozzapreti ortrofie, shown here), and top with a handful of torn basil. Serves 4 happypeople. If you’d like to grant yourself six ingredients, top with a grating ofParmigiano-Reggiano. If you’re feeling kicky, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushedred pepper as you gently cook the garlic.Find more inspiration in our 5-Ingredient Cookbook.