Saturday, August 12, 2006

Angel-Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce


(my very first food photograph!)


A few months ago, I bought subscriptions to Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines as birthday gifts to myself. My goal: to justify further cluttering our already full bookshelves by making at least 5 recipes from each issue. Let's be honest here- I love reading through them again and again (and again... and again...), and there is no way I could force myself to throw old issues out. At least, not for a few decades.

When the July issue of Gourmet arrived, the cover recipe looked too good to pass up. I've made it a few times and, as always, I couldn't resist a bit of tweaking. After all, experimenting in the kitchen can be fun! And for those of us who are avid garlic lovers, the original recipe (which calls for one lonely little garlic clove) begs for a bigger garlicky kick. Here is our version:

Angel-Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Makes 6 first-course servings or 3-4 main course servings.

2-3 large garlic cloves
3 lb mixed variety tomatoes (2 lbs mixed large tomatoes, 1 pound mixed cherry tomatoes)
1/4 cup pitted and chopped olives (Whole Foods sells scrumptious mixed, pitted olives)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb dried capellini (angel-hair pasta)
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut into chiffonade*

Mince garlic and mash to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife. Core and coarsely chop two thirds of the large tomatoes. Slice small tomatoes in half. Halve remaining large tomatoes crosswise, then rub cut sides of tomatoes against large holes of a box grater or your largest microplane grater set in a large bowl, reserving pulp and discarding skin. Toss pulp with the chopped and sliced tomatoes, olives, garlic paste, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, sugar, pepper, and basil. Let stand until ready to use, at least 10 minutes (if you have time, let the tomato mixture stand at room temperature up to 2 hours). While tomatoes stand, cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente (2-3 minutes for fresh pasta, 4-6 minutes for dried pasta). Drain in a colander and immediately add to tomato mixture, tossing to combine. Pass parmesan cheese at the table for sprinkling, if you like.

The sauce goes well with pasta, of course, but if you want a tasty panzanella (Italian bread and tomato salad), you can omit the pasta and toss the sauce with 8-10 cups of cubed, day-old, crusty bread. For those who live in the Boston area, Pain D'Avignon (available at many Whole Foods locations) makes a delicious country bread that holds up beautifully to the wet sauce.

* To cut basil into chiffonade, pile 10-15 leaves on top of each other on a cutting board. Roll them up tightly lengthwise (like a cigar) then cut them on a diagonal into thin strips. I find that the sharper my knife, the thinner my basil strips.

1 comment:

marisolle said...

Aw, that looks so healthy and yummy!