GRATED TOMATO SAUCE, REVISITED

Almost three years ago I blogged on a fresh tomato sauce in which the tomatoes are grated instead of diced or processed. It is such a nice method that I feel it’s worth mentioning again for those who might be new to my site.  Something about its texture makes this sauce absolutely unique and very delicious…

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WHOLE-WHEAT SPAGHETTI WITH GRATED TOMATO SAUCE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

Whole-wheat spaghetti
4 large, ripe tomatoes or 6 medium, halved crosswise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried mint leaves
2 tablespoons capers (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade
Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, grate the tomatoes using a box grater with medium-large holes.  The skin of the tomato will protect your hand as it gets close to the grater.

To the grated tomatoes, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mint, capers, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Add the cooked pasta on top of the cold tomato mixture, and immediately add the basil.   Toss everything together gently, and serve right away with Parmigiano cheese.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

IMG_2292IT”S ALL ABOUT THE TEXTURE…

I make this type of pasta several times each summer, never get tired of it!  Since I learned from Louisa Shafia that dried mint should not be frowned upon, I’ve been using it a lot. In this pasta, it worked wonders together with the capers and the basil…   You can adapt this recipe in countless ways, just make sure to grate the tomatoes, it is amazing how a little change can bring so much to a simple recipe.

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The refreshing pasta next to a simple roasted chicken, adapted from an old favorite.

ONE YEAR AGO: A Taste of Yellow to Honor Barbara

TWO YEARS AGO: Gratin of Beefsteak Tomatoes

THREE YEARS AGO: Tour de France Final Stage: PARIS

FOUR YEARS AGO: Snickerdoodles with a Twist

GRATING TOMATOES (AND LOVING IT)!

I’ve grated cheese, old bread, chocolate, lemon peel, and ginger root…  I’ve grated zucchini, potatoes, and apples.  Tomatoes?  Never thought I ever would.  But a dear friend of mine (hi, Heather!) did just that and raved about it.  She is such an awesome cook, I never hesitate to follow her recommendations.  The recipe was published in the food section of the New York Times last month.

PASTA WITH GRATED TOMATO SAUCE AND GREEN BEANS
(from The New York Times, August 2010)

3/4 pound ripe, locally grown tomatoes
1  garlic clove,  finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2  teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces green beans, trimmed
3/4 pound farfalle pasta
2 tablespoons basil leaves, slivered
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmiggiano cheese for serving

Begin heating a large pot of water. If you happen to be cooking in the nano-kitchen, this step should be started 2 hours before dinner, give or take 10 minutes. Cut the tomatoes in half across the equator, and grate on the large holes of a box grater into a wide bowl, discard skin. Stir in the garlic, salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the green beans, cooking them for four minutes.   Transfer to a bowl of cold water, drain and dry on paper towels. Keep the water in the pot boiling for the pasta. Cut the beans into two-inch lengths (I cut smaller), and add to the bowl with the tomatoes.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente.  When it’s done, drain and toss with the tomato mixture, basil and cheese.

(Makes 4 servings)

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: These gorgeous heirloom tomatoes were my first acquisition in the market in Los Angeles.  I’ve made plenty of raw tomato sauces before, normally using a food processor or blender, sometimes just dicing them by hand.  Grating is easy, fast, and produces a very interesting texture.  The skin of the tomatoes act to protect your hand during grating –  just don’t get overly excited – once you feel it laying flat on the surface of the grater, you are done.  I did not bother removing the seeds, but if you want an even smoother texture, squeeze them gently to de-seed, and then grate the flesh.  I am looking forward to using this basic tomato sauce with asparagus, capers, black olives…

Those following my adventures might be wondering how on Earth could I cook pasta without a stove?  Well, we found a little something in the house, still in its box,  never used.   It takes its sweet time to boil water, but beggars can’t be choosers, can they?

ONE YEAR AGO: Peach Pie

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PASTA WITH FRESH TOMATO SAUCE

If you cannot stand the heat…

… no need to stay out of the kitchen.

Try this dish instead, and you’ll be glad you did…

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There are only a few ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil and herbs, so they need to be good quality. I repeat this mantra quite a bit, but it makes all the difference in the world. We had several  tomatoes from the farmer’s market laying around the kitchen, ripe and juicy.  And this weekend we’ll bring home lots more, so I wanted to use them.  After biking from work at 105 F, we needed something fresh and light, but substantial enough to replenish our energies.  Pasta with fresh tomato sauce was it!

You’ll find recipes for uncooked tomato sauce in  every Italian cookbook, and on countless websites.   I’ll  show you how I made it, following a basic method that can be adjusted to your taste and the fresh herbs you have handy.  I go through the trouble of peeling the tomatoes, but you can skip this step if you don’t like doing it. It won’t be as luscious, though… 😉

PASTA WITH UNCOOKED TOMATO SAUCE

(receita em portugues ao final do texto!)

tomatoes (ripe and gorgeous)
olive oil (the best you can find)
fresh basil leaves
fresh mint leaves
fresh thyme
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)

Peel the tomatoes (click here if you want a quick lesson), remove most of the seeds. Cut them in large chunks and place in the bowl of a food processor or blender.  Add a bunch of basil and mint leaves, some thyme, drizzle olive oil all over, season with salt and pepper.

Process by pulsing the machine on a few times.  You want to retain the tomato in pieces (see my photo after the jump).   Add red pepper flakes to taste.   Allow the tomato/herb mixture to sit in a bowl while you cook the pasta.   I like fettuccine or spaghetti.

Once the pasta cooks, drain it quickly, add to a serving bowl and mix in the cold tomato sauce.  Serve immediately.  The contrast of the hot pasta with the cold sauce is a great gastronomic experience!

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