Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fresh Tomato Pasta

In the summertime, I love making pasta dishes with fresh, raw tomatoes.... preferably homegrown ones.  This is another dish I made with fresh tomatoes from our friend.  I really, really liked this one, and it was SO easy and fast!  You use the tomatoes in their fresh, raw state, add some red onion, and toss with hot pasta, a tiny bit of olive oil and vinegar, and a touch of Parmesan cheese.  You don't have to be fussy with this recipe- all you do is stem the tomatoes and chop them.  No seeding, juicing, etc.  You use all of the tomato (except the stem of course!) 

This dish will only be as good as the tomatoes you use, so use tasty ones!  Also, your best bet to season the pasta is when it's boiling.... I usually don't salt my pasta water, but for this recipe, it's a good idea.  It seasons the pasta itself, and I didn't need to add any salt to the finished dish. 

I used a 13.5 oz. package of whole-grain spaghetti.  The original recipe calls for a pound (16oz) but my 13.5 oz still made a TON!  This was popular with most of my fam- even my 4 year old had three servings, eating the tomatoes and all!

Fresh Tomato Pasta
from Gilt Taste

2 ½ pounds of the ripest tomatoes you can find
2 handfuls of tender young arugula or flavorful greens of your choice (optional... I didn't have any)
Scant ¼ cup shaved red onion or shallot, as thin as you can cut it
13-16oz. spaghetti or linguine
Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red wine vinegar, to taste (optional)
Parmigiano cheese, to taste

1.  Cut the tomatoes into ½-inch pieces or so, and place, with all their juices, in a large bowl. (Big enough to fit everything in the recipe, plus with lots of room to stir.) Season them generously with salt and pepper (I skipped the salt here), and a generous splash or two of the nicest olive oil you have. Stir together, and give it a taste. Add some red wine vinegar, if desired.

2.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt.  Add the pasta and stir.

3.  While the pasta is cooking, lay the greens on top of the tomatoes, and then the onion or shallot slices. Try to arrange them so that they’re in one even layer, so that when you pile the pasta on, the heat will take the raw edge off the onion, and gently wilt the greens underneath.

4.  When the pasta is cooked to a perfect al dente, drain it and dump it in the bowl.  Don’t touch it for two minutes.  After two minutes, get in there and give it all a stir; the starch from the pasta actually helps to emulsify the oil into the tomato juices, creating a sauce. Add the Parmesan, and then taste it, adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, olive oil, or vinegar, and serve right away.
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