Monday, August 07, 2006

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.

17 Comments:

Blogger Vanessa said...

This is BY FAR my favorite ways to enjoy summer's greatest gift... well, this and ogling tan dudes at the beach.
Seriously though, Best and Easiest Recipe Ever, truly "more than the sum of it's parts." I prefer still-warm-from-the-vine halved cherry tomatoes. For some reason, the smaller they are, the more taste they seem to have per cubic inch.

6:54 AM  
Blogger KleoPatra said...

How interesting to read your past with the red gems. I felt the same way. If it wasn't ketchup, i wasn't gonna have anything to do with tomatoes.

I love 'em now, but i can't eat 'em by themselves, a holdover from my sordid past. With pasta and bread, they're my best buds.

Thanks for a great way to eat these beauties!

6:27 PM  
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6:02 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

Yum.. I love this sauce.. I do a very similar one, but I just throw all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender... use it on pizza.. it is to die for..

This is actually my kids favorite sauce.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

This is one of my firm favorites as it's so easy to make and I always have three types of basil growing the whole year round in a sunny window I have.

2:41 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

This looks so good. SImple and perfect.

1:06 PM  
Blogger sp said...

Just last night my partner prepared the traditional Sunday tomato sauce for the pasta with fresh heirloom tomatoes from the garden. As he passed the cooked tomatoes through the food mill it occurred to me that we could just as easily put raw tomatoes through the food mill and wouldn't that taste divine. Would this work? Here I am on your blog and lo and behold raw tomato sauce. I will take your advice and use one of the paste tomatoes. We don't have romas in the garden, but we do have something called "Polish Linguisa" that is a paste tomato, large, oblong shaped and actually looks more like a hot pepper than tomato.
Thanks for the inspiration (yet again).

7:37 AM  
Blogger t. said...

Sharing your love for tomatoes here: only problem is I will be home alone one week and with 20 or so plants overproducing I am getting worried at how I will be able to eat them all..... and these delicious red fruits are becoming my enemies all of a sudden!

3:28 PM  
Blogger primaryconsumer said...

I tagged you on my blog!

10:37 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

that pasta looks amazing! i wish i could take good pictures like yours. but i am pretty good at following recipes, and this one is officially on my list of stuff to make :)

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Isa said...

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6:49 PM  
Blogger always learning said...

agree that simple fresh tomatoes + basil is one of the best pasta sauces... if rawness is not an issue, heirlooms or just about any fresh tomato can be reduced to thick, rich, flavorful goodness - *salivating at the thought*

4:36 PM  
Blogger always learning said...

beautiful picture. I just finished a several week binge of spaghetti with simple heirloom tomato and basil sauce. Delish! :)

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