Monday, July 9, 2012

sole la pasta

     I deemed it TomatoFest 2012 at my house last week... It looks like it could continue throughout July, but I'm okay with that. There's nothing like fresh and juicy summer tomatoes.
     In addition to the five gallon bucket of beefsteak tomatoes a friend dropped at my house, the little yellow pear tomatoes in the garden are producing at an alarming rate. I'm happy to report an overabundance of beautiful sun-colored fruit.
     Their sunny hue inspired me to create a monochromatic pasta dish, simple and full of flavor... lovely to behold. The name means sunshine pasta, in Italian.
     The main ingredients are yellow tomatoes, sweet yellow bell pepper and garlic. Oh, and pasta. A dollop of homemade basil pesto and fresh herbs added just before serving were the only color contrast.
     By adding a green salad and crusty bread, this can be a nice weeknight meal for two or enlarged to feed a family. It can be a meatless main event or have a supporting role.
     If you can't find  the yellow pear or grape tomatoes, use any size. The sauce is casual and rustic so chop the veggies up any old way you choose.
Ingredients
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 t. (or more to your taste) red pepper flakes
1 pound or so, yellow tomatoes, any size or shape
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 of a yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
salt and pepper
pinch of sugar
1 t. chicken or vegetable bullion paste
1/2 c. dry white wine
fresh herbs like thyme, oregano and rosemary
1 c. pasta cooking water
1/2 pound or more spaghetti rigati
basil pesto
grated asiago cheese for serving
Directions
Put a large pot of water on for pasta. When water boils, salt liberally and add pasta.
In a large, flat saute pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Toss red pepper flakes and tomatoes into the hot oil and stir around until tomatoes begin to break down.
Toss in garlic. When it begins to soften, add yellow pepper to pan. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Place spoonful of bullion in pan and let it melt into sauce. Deglaze pan with wine, stir and reduce heat to low. Toss in a few chopped herbs, saving the rest for topping finished pasta.
When pasta is still quite al dente, reserve pasta water and drain. Immediately dump drained pasta into the pan with sauce. Stir to blend. Spaghetti will continue to cook, absorbing sauce. Add small amount of pasta water to loosen up the sauce. Add more as needed.
Simmer until pasta is al dente. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
Place in individual pasta bowls and top with a spoonful of basil pesto right in the center. Give it a sprinkling of asiago cheese and remaining herbs. Serve at once.
     Isn't it pretty? That is one of the most important things, after all... pretty food that tastes great! It reminded me of a primavera... I may try adding yellow squash and carrots and a bit of onion next time.

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