Lemony tomato salsa

Some cooks peel, seed, or salt tomatoes to enhance the flavor and texture of tomato sauces. You can eliminate those steps when using juicy summer tomatoes. I like to toss this chunky salsa with penne and allow the refreshing mixture to come to room temperature before serving it solo as a pasta salad or as a colorful accompaniment to grilled chicken.

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon minced garlic

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon sugar

3 large beefsteak tomatoes (at room temperature), cut into ½-inch cubes

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Garnish (optional): freshly ground pepper, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and sprigs of fresh basil or fresh flat-leaf parsley

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Gently stir together the tomatoes, basil, and parsley in a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice mixture and toss.

If possible, allow the salsa to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before tossing with hot freshly cooked pasta. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve warm or allow to cool.