8 large, juicy vine-ripened tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh ricotta or 2 balls fresh mozzarella, sliced
3/4 cup chopped basil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 red onion, sliced in thin crescents
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound riccioli, or any curly pasta
4 ounces or 4 bunches fresh arugula, stems removed
Drop the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for about 5 seconds. Do not overcook the tomatoes or they will turn to mush. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge them into a bath of cold water for 5 seconds. Peel off the skin and discard. Dice the tomatoes over the serving bowl so you do not lose any of the juice or seeds.
Gently mix in the garlic, olive oil, ricotta or mozzarella, basil, parsley onion, and salt and pepper. Marinate for at least 40 minutes.
In the meantime, cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. In a large sauté pan, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil, then add the hot pasta and fresh arugula. Mix together for a few minutes on high heat, just until the pasta is very hot and the arugula is wilted. Transfer immediately to the serving bowl with the sauce, and gently mix. Serve, adding a little of the hot cooking water if needed, as the sauce should be loose.
This is what summer is all about! The sauce is called salsa cruda, meaning "not cooked." You can substitute any herbs you have growing in your garden—tarragon is great, or marjoram, or slivered fresh fennel. Go wild and experiment! As my grandmother said, this sauce is una benedizione because it is easy and, most importantly, inexpensive. At least in Greve.
Cristina's of Sun Valley
by Cristina Ceccatelli Cook
Gibbs Smith, Publisher
Photography: Kirsten Shultz
160 pages, Hardcover, $45.
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created April 2006
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