Wednesday, September 16, 2009

100. Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Basil

Date Cooked: September 12, 2009
Page: 243
Rating: B+

100! I made it to a hundred posts! I had really hoped to achieve this type of milestone about six months earlier but my pacing is a little slower than initially intended. Regardless though I feel pretty happy about this! So to celebrate I am posting about a simple pasta dish… I actually thought about timing the 100th post to be a post about a cake or something but that didn’t happen. This post however marks a significant step, the slow acceptance of foods that our house has traditionally stayed away from.

Our neighbor is a very kind elderly gentleman who has discovered that he grows more vegetables than him and his wife can eat. So we have been the occasional recipient of some lovely fresh produce. This time around we were greeted when coming home to a bag of tomatoes on our doorstep. Tomatoes… not exactly the produce of choice for us and I was immediately trying to determine what I should do with them. They sat in the fridge for a few days while I tried to figure it out when I realized the book had a few recipes in the pasta section that utilized fresh tomatoes. I have been a little negligent in the pasta section so I figured this would be a great use!

My wife and I have the same general complaint about tomatoes, the slimy, seedy interior. I am a little more forgiving of tomatoes included in things but this is something hard for my wife to accept. But this recipe calls for the tomatoes to be peeled and seeded. Works for both of us. Now peeling and seeding tomatoes is a process all its own and not exactly the quickest of things. I started by plunging the tomatoes into boiling water for about 20 seconds and then transferring them to an ice bath. From there I peeled the skins from the tomatoes. I was really surprised at this stage. I tend to find that every time a book says that something will be easy I run into difficulty. But not this time. Once peeled the tomatoes were cut in half, seeded and then chopped. I let them rest in a bowl until I was ready to assemble the sauce.

To start the sauce I heated some garlic in oil and then added the tomatoes. The tomatoes were reduced down until almost all of the liquid had evaporated. I added a small amount of salt and some fresh chopped basil. Let’s discuss the basil. I never have fresh basil on hand so as I typically do I went to the store to pick some up. This time however I came home not with fresh basil but an entire basil plant. For a dollar more I figured the plant was better than the packaged stuff. My kitchen gets plenty of sunlight during the day so I figured it will do fine there. We’ll see though since I am not known for my ability to grow things.

With the sauce done I waited for the pasta to finish boiling to complete the meal. I reserved ¼ cup of the pasta water and drained the rest. The sauce, reserved pasta water and some oil were mixed together and the whole thing was plated to serve.

Rating: B+. This dish was well received by the entire family. My oldest son who freaks out when vegetables are put on his plate ate two helpings of it. He didn’t even try to pick the basil out of it! My youngest ate a small amount but his lack of appetite may have to do with his constant pilfering of cheese, yogurt and any other food he can reach from the fridge. He has reached a stage where I may need to lock the fridge. There is no doubt that it was fresh tasting and simple. The only problem was I made the sauce based on 2 ½ pounds of whole tomatoes when I should have used 2 ½ pounds of peeled, chopped and seeded tomatoes. The sauce to pasta ratio was definitely off.

A quick question. The book constantly refers to a pound of pasta. How does a pound of fresh pasta translate into dried pasta?

 A hundred recipes done…

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