One of the simple pleasures of summer is the speed with which bright, elegant meals can be put together. After you have been sated by the first of the tomato harvest, you can get on with doing a little more to summer's finest fruit than plucking it off the vine and eating it. There are endlesss variations to uncooked tomato sauces, and I offer here the basic formula for pasta for four, along with numerous variations. For the simplest and most casual of sauces, do not peel or seed the tomatoes.
Remove the stem end of the tomatoes and discard. with a sharp knife, chop the tomatoes coarsely and place them in a glass or stainless steel bowl. Crush the garlic cloves by placing them, one at a time, on your work surface and placing the side of your knife blade on it. Use your fist to firmly press the blade down, crushing the garlic in the process. After smashing the garlic, chop it finely and add it to the tomatoes. Remove the basil leaves from their stems, chop them coarsely, and toss with the tomatoes and garlic. Add the olive oil and toss again. Let the mixture rest in a cool spot, but not the refrigerator, for about 2 hours. Cook the pasta and drain it. Season the tomato sauce with salt and black pepper and add the pasta to the sauce. Toss the mixture and serve immediately.
Copyright 1996 by Michele Anna Jordan, author of The Good Cook's Book of Tomatoes. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.
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