Monday, June 2, 2008

Jun 2: Simple Tomato Sauce

Craving of the day: Spaghetti

I've been fortunate to work with engineers from Italy. The country where European high cuisine originated. One engineer I worked with was quite, unintentionally, humorous about his dislike for the food in the US. Apparently, food here is over-seasoned to the point you can't taste what the main ingredient. The Italian food here has too much garlic. If you're familiar with Emeril's show, you'll know what I mean.

As an example, he described how his coworkers would cook mussels. A little wine, parsley, salt and that's it. I asked about adding garlic and got an emphatic, "No." Garlic would overpower the mussels.

At the same time, I read this Simple Tomato Sauce recipe from Bob del Grosso's blog A Hunger Artist.

What caught my attention was the simplicity of the recipe - tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Also, it was quick about 15 mintutes, including prep time. This jived with my Italian cowoker was saying.

Salsa di Pomodoro

The Fixins'
2 pounds Tomatoes - 12 hot house tomatoes - cut into 12ths.
3 cloves Garlic - sliced
2 Oz Olive Oil
6 leaves Basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

The main ingredients - tomatoes, basil and garlic.

The olive oil is heated in the pan.
Add the garlic to cook about a minute or two, but not brown.
Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.
Afterwards, add the salt, pepper and basil.

Basil added to the cooked tomatoes.

Blend the sauce - another reason to use a gadget! I used a stick blender.

The Final Dish
Serve sauce over pasta. Also, topped with Parmesan cheese.

I enjoyed the sauce.

Nice strong taste of fresh basil and the garlic was present but more subtle. I thought the garlic would be completely diluted out by all of the the tomato. That was not the case.

This recipes is very simple and does not have heavy seasonings to mask the main ingredients. The tomatoes I used were not quite ripe so the tomato's contribution was a bit subdued.

The hot house tomatoes used looked nice and deep red in the supermarket, but when I started cutting the tomatoes the center were still firm. Just two or three days short of being fully ripe, but I was craving pasta and didn't want to wait. Also, while I was in the market I forgot to buy some canned tomatoes as backup.

This would make a great recipe for fresh ripe tomatoes.

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