Friday, September 7, 2012

Mom's garden tomatoes make
for excellent raw pasta sauce

My mother recently gave me a bag filled with tomatoes from her garden.
   Holding the lovely prize in my hands, I knew exactly what I was going to make with it. I wanted to try a recipe for a raw tomato sauce for pasta I’d seen earlier in the summer. I remember it looking fresh and simple, the perfect vehicle for Mom’s tomatoes.
   I went home and dug out the recipe for Fusilli with Raw Tomato Sauce (click for the recipe) and took it for a whirl, and it worked very well.
   The garden tomatoes were a good start for the excellent final result, but it was helped along by basil from our herb garden and top-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The recipe calls for plum tomatoes, but my Mom’s were the common garden variety, and they worked well.
   Although the sauce doesn’t need any cooking, it is nicely warmed as it is tossed with freshly-boiled pasta and left to sit 15 minutes at room temperature. This helps to infuse the pasta with the flavors of the sauce and warm the sauce as well. The recipe doesn’t say to cover the pasta while it is sitting for this 15-minute period, but I did to help keep in the heat.
   Although the recipe is very easy to make, the sauce does need to sit for an hour at room temperature for the flavors to develop, so it takes a little extra time.
   The recipe directs to halve the tomatoes, discard the pulp and cut the flesh into ¾” pieces. I took this to mean trimming the top and bottom of the tomatoes, cutting them in half and scraping out the seeds before chopping.
   Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar are whisked together. The chopped tomatoes are added and squeezed to slightly bruise them and release their juices. Fresh basil, salt and pepper are stirred in. The bowl is covered and left for one hour at room temperature to marinate the tomatoes.
   Dry fusilli (I used Catelli Smart) is boiled, drained and returned to the pot. The tomato mixture is poured over and stirred evenly to incorporate into the pasta.
   The pasta is left to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

No comments: