Picked from the Garden ~ Tomatoes

Friday, August 19, 2011

Our tomatoes have taken on a life of their own....  what started as 6 small plants, has blossomed into a vine jungle. I picked a bowl full of cherry & plum tomatoes last night to saute down with fresh garlic for a fresh pasta sauce.

After I put the water on to boil for my pasta, I heated up a saute pan on medium heat, with a little butter & Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I took about 3 garlic cloves, and sliced them very thin - leaving them in whole slices, not chopped or minced -- I like to see the garlic. I cut my tomatoes in half, and added them (with the garlic) to my melted butter & oil. Add salt & pepper and stir. Letting the heat do its job, the tomatoes start to break down, release their juice, and create like a sauce.

Once the water is boiling for the pasta, salt the water (like the sea), before adding the noodles. Toss in your pasta of choice, and cook for 9-10 minutes. If you pull back on the cooking time of the pasta (under-cook vs. over-cook), it will help in finishing the noodles perfectly when mixed with the hot pan of the tomatoes. Just before the cooking time is up, spoon a little of the pasta water into your saute pan of tomatoes (the addition of the pasta water helps to create a slight thickening agent to round out the finished sauce), and stir. When the cooking time is up, drain your pasta (do not rinse with water) and toss into the tomatoes.

Stir the ingredients together, letting the tomatoes coat over every noodle. Finally, allow all the ingredients to come together in the saute pan for a few minutes before serving. The heat from the saute pan & just added pasta will help to continue to cook the noodles to perfection, while also allowing them to absorb the rich tomato liquid and fragrant garlic.

I had broccoli rabe (that had been cooked off from Wednesday night's dinner), so I added that when I mixed in the pasta. This stage allows you to make the dish your own. With the addition of a favorite veggie -- you could add fresh spinach leaves (the heat will help them wilt down quickly) or if you had cooked mushrooms or zucchini, etc -- all are great ingredients to fold in.

For serving, I grated fresh Parmesan and crumbled fresh Mozzarella over the top -- Enjoy!

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