pasta with raw tomato-basil-garlic sauce
i don't know about you but i dream of late summer all year round. not because of the long, lazy sun-filled days (we don't get many of those during the fog and windswept chilly days of a typical san francisco "summer"), nor because of school break ('cause i've long since finished my formal book 'larnin' days and am condemned to a meanly doled out two weeks of pooled vacation/sick days off each year), nor because of the much anticipated resumption of all those beloved tv sitcoms, dramas, and reality programs ('cause let's face it, it's mostly just garbage not fit for human consumption after all). no my friends. during the dark chilly mornings of february, as i reluctantly roll my creaky joints out of bed, i dream of.....tomatoes. red. ripe. juicy. sweet. firm. fleshy. succulent. heavenly. tomatoes.
the ironic thing is that i used to HATE tomatoes. those perfect little red globes dangling seductively on perfect green little vines so prettily displayed beneath flourescent lights in the local grocery store. oh the anger and the heartbreak when it is discovered that beneath the artifice lies nothing but a pale, anemic, slimy little heart with no flavor and no remose for the hideous deception. is it any wonder that i despised those treacherous little creatures?
but then, one glorious summer, i discovered the real thing. fresh off the plant. and i couldn't believe it. beneath the not quite perfectly spherical, not quite uniformly red, not quite as cosmetically pleasing exterior was an explosion of sweet, meaty, juicy, sunshine-y flavors. since then i've shunned all out of season tomatoes, relying instead on home-canned goods plucked at their summer freshest. or at least a good brand of store bought.
and so here is a super simple, no cook recipe for a pasta sauce that showcases the vibrant flavors of late summer at their best. beautiful tomatoes, pungent garlic and sweet italian basil combined into a raw sauce that'll give you a suntan just eating it. even if it is acold, foggy and windswept san francisco type of summer.
raw tomato sauce with garlic, basil and olive oil
a pile of the ripest, juiciest, reddest roma* tomatoes you can find
a handful of fresh, sweet italian basil, chopped
a good glug of lusty, fruity extra-virgin olive oil
at least a few cloves of raw garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
a smattering of diced kalamata olives, if you fancy 'em
coarsely chop the roma tomatoes into large chunks, removing seeds and placing in a colander. lightly salt the tomatoes and allow the juices to drain out a bit. after the tomatoes have expelled a bit of their juices, place in a blender or food processor with the minced garlic and chopped basil and pulse a few times until just a bit of texture remains. add a few glugs of olive oil and salt to taste. remove from blender and toss with cooked pasta (angel hair pasta and ravioli work particulary well with this sauce) and kalamata olives (if using).
*use romas if you can find them. they have the lowest water content and will produce a sauce that is less, um, watery with a more concentrated tomato flavor.