Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Cold Comfort on a Hot Day!

Pasta Estiva con Sugo Crudo
Summer Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce

Ok, it was just sunny today and not really THAT hot- but it has been the first day in months here that seemed remotely Spring-like and that gave us a hint of what we can maybe look forward to (knocks on wood!). So I decided to make a Summer dish all the same- super-quick and easy and bound to please! Ad that to the fact that it costs next to nothing to make and you really have only got yourselves to blame if you miss out on this... just sayin'! ;-)

The combination of steaming-hot pasta and cold, raw sauce is pretty terrific on a hot Summer's day- it's a more fun and much healthier pasta salad if you like and a great meal in itself. I used super sweet and delicious red and yellow cherry tomatoes to make this- any tomatoes will do, as long as they are tasty and ripe of course... I just always think that the cherry tomatoes have the more intense flavor if you are using them out of season... and I didn't want to wait until July or August! With this year's track record- Summer not even begin by then if we are not lucky!!

So, obviously as the sauce is raw- the only cooking that needs to be done is the pasta- which in this case was gemelli, which I love for this kind of dish, although farfalle or penne would also have been a good choice. Into the saucepan they went, with a good pinch of salt, to boil for 8-10 minutes... in which time I got busy with the sauce- which meant plenty of chopping in the meantime!

For my generous single serving, I used 5 each of both the yellow and red cherry tomatoes, which I chopped relatively finely. Next came 5-6 leaves each of mint, parsley and basil which I chopped as finely as I could, just a little finely chopped garlic- half a clove was more than enough for my taste, 1 Spring onion and just a little celery- about 1/4 of a stalk is plenty, all chopped as finely as possible...

... and to these basic ingredients I added 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, a little nutmeg and a pinch of sugar- just to balance any possible acidity the tomatoes may have. I gave all of this a good stir and let it sit until the pasta was done, in which time the tomatoes gave off quite a bit of water/juice, but because of the tomato paste I added, this easily became absorbed and blended into a sauce of sorts. And in the meantime, the tomato pieces too on all of the fabulous flavors of the herbs... yummy!

As soon as the pasta was al-dente, I drained, though not too thoroughly and poured it straight into the bowl with the sauce, along with a little more olive oil and a optional splash of tabasco... I like it hot! Nonetheless, the coarsely ground black pepper, scattered basil leaves and freshly grated parmesan are a must! As is this whole dish in itself! Give it a try and enjoy!

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