Summer is coming to an end, which means two things: the kids are back in school, and gardens are overflowing with a favorite Italian staple-tomatoes! If you have your own garden, or have a kind friend or neighbor who shares their garden bounty with you, right now you probably have more beautiful, meaty, red tomatoes than you know what to do with! It can be an overwhelming blessing when all those tomatoes ripen at the same time- especially if canning is not an option, or an option you prefer. ITALIAN GOODNESS TO THE RESCUE 🙂 !!
Just a few days ago a dear friend gave me a bag of fresh organic tomatoes so perfect, I couldn’t help but take a picture! So I decided to make one of my favorite pasta recipes- one that calls for up to a pound per person of fresh tomatoes, and creates a delicious, nutritious, inexpensive, and family-friendly dinner. If you think you may like my idea, harvest your tomatoes and get ready to cook!
Just two warnings: 1) if you want this dish to come out best, use only fresh, firm tomatoes (just picked very recently) 2) this recipe requires just 30 minutes to create, but tomatoes need to be cleaned and drained at least *three hours* before cooking.
INGREDIENTS for 2-3 servings
2/3 pack of fettuccine or spaghetti (about 300 gr.)
about 2-3 lb. fresh tomatoes
1/2 finely chopped medium sized white onion
1 clove garlic
1 pinch of crushed red pepper
2 tsp. rosemary (fresh or dry)
2-3 leaves fresh basil (or a couple of pinches dry basil)
olive oil (enough for the pan)
sea salt (to taste)
At least 3 hours before cooking:
Wash the tomatoes, take away any green parts, cut them in two, and squeeze them to eliminate all the seeds. Put the tomatoes in a drainer until it is time to cook the pasta. I know, it will look like a tons of tomatoes, but believe me, after few minutes on the stove they’ll halve their volume.
At dinner time:
Cut the tomatoes in cubes. In a big pan (the biggest you have, so all the tomatoes will touch the olive oil at least on one side), pour enough olive oil to evenly cover the bottom of the pan, and at medium heat, brown the onion and the clove of garlic. In the mean time put the water pot for the spaghetti (or fettuccine) on the stove to boil.
As soon as the onion become translucent, add the fresh tomato cubes. The best sauce will be obtained if the tomatoes saute’ in a single layer, not stacked upon each other. If they don’t touch the hot oil directly, they will instead become boiled. Keep the tomatoes at high heat: they should release their water which will prevent them from burning. In about ten minutes the tomatoes should start getting dry. This will be about the time the pot of water for the pasta starts boiling and you are ready to add in the pasta and salt. And, about this time, you will be inebriated by the appetizing smell the sauce will emit all around your kitchen! 😉
At this point, flip the tomatoes cubes upside down, and let them cook (always at high heat) until all their water is absorbed. You’ll notice that once you’ll flip the tomatoes cubes, they will release water again which will prevent your tomatoes from burning to the pan. It will take about ten more minutes.
Switch off the heat, sprinkle with sea salt, and stir in the crushed red pepper, rosemary, and basil.
Once the pasta is cooked and drained well, add it to the pan of tomatoes, and stir gently to distribute the sauce evenly.
And that’s it!! Your colorful, aromatic, extraordinary dish is ready to be enjoyed! So easy, and SO delicious!
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
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– In my personal experience, this recipe appeals to all the family members’ tastes…but it can happen that the kids eat just the spaghetti and push the tomatoes cubes aside. That is fine: you can use the leftover to make a special bruschetta!
– As I already mentioned in the recipe, spaghetti and fettuccine are perfect for this kind of dressing, but almost any noodle would be ok. However, I personally would avoid short shaped pasta like maccheroni and penne, because they wouldn’t give justice to the taste of the sauce.