'Tis The Season
So, I decided to make an all-tomato dinner, starting with that wonderful tomato-and-fresh mozzarella salad where you slice those two ingredients, stack them into a red-and-white-striped tower, and drizzle some balsamic vinaigrette down the sides. It's hard to beat that for a summer salad.
The highlight, however, was the fresh tomato sauce for the pasta. I have seen it described on more than one blog - and one of the blogs was accused of stealing it from another - so I won't give an attribution here, just an appreciation. Whomever invented this technique for making fresh tomato sauce, whoever you are - Thank You! Topped with a little grated Parmesano, you just can't get a better dinner for love nor money in the late summer. Period.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
I had several very small, ripe tomatoes and one or two sizable ones, so the number you use for this recipe varies widely depending upon how much sauce you want to make. I made just enough for two.
I haven't tried freezing this yet, so I can't give you intel about that. Here goes:
6-8 small tomatoes or, say, 4 big ones (?)
A generous driz of olive oil
Basil, either dried or fresh, but fresh is better
Start a big pot of water boiling and prepare an ice bath in a big bowl. Core the tomatoes. Drop them into the boiling water with a slotted spoon to avoid splashing yourself. After about 30 seconds, remove them into the ice bath to cool them quickly.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a wide pan.
The tomato skins will slip off easily; discard them. Cut the tomatoes in half around the equator and holding them firmly, squeeze out most of the seeds and discard the seeds and gel. As you put the tomatoes into the wide, warmed pan, squish them between your fingers to break them into irregular pieces. This is messy but surprisingly fun (next time, I plan to include a grandchild in this step - they would love the squishy part).
Start another big pot of water for the pasta (or you could just re-use the water you used to blanch the tomatoes). When it is boiling, add the pasta.
Heat the tomato pulp until it begins to give off its juice, then scoop out the pulp and reduce the juices for a few minutes, until they thicken into something resembling a sauce. Return the pulp to the pan, add the basil and heat again.
When the pasta is done, drain it and put it directly into the wide pan with the tomato sauce, tossing it around to coat all the pasta. Plate and drizzle with a little extra olive oil. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.