While I’ve now gone on about le rentree and the seasons changing and all that good stuff, the produce at the markets belies the cooler days, and the tables full of glorious fruit and vegetables, the best of the year in my opinion, are stacked high with end-of-summer delicacies. So before le rentree (Fall to you and me) well and truly settles in, and for those of you still looking for no-cook ideas for the remaining warm days of August I wanted to take advantage and share a recipe I’ve been making for years.
Tomatoes are not my favorite. Many people I know wait all year for their crops to ripen, for these little jewels to hit their peak of juiciness and sweetness, eschewing the plastic tasting greenhouse versions on offer during other times of the year. I’m not one of those people. I do love the way they look and even love the way they smell (I even have a Jonathan Adler candle that smells of perfectly ripe tomatoes), I’m just not wild about the way they taste.
However, this past Sunday, as I was wandering through the stalls at the Queen’s Park Farmers’ Market still not sure exactly when my dear husband will be back from Gaza, and enticed by the big hunks of meat better suited to a family of five, the table of colorful tomatoes caught my eye. Instead of rushing the season, I reminded myself, why not enjoy the bounty of what’s here now? Plus the recipe that came to mind provided the perfect solution for solo dining as whatever is left over is perfect for lunch the next day.
So, in spite of my aversion to tomatoes most of the time, this recipe for spaghetti with uncooked tomato sauce is the exception. As all of the ingredients sit at room temperature, allowing the flavors to marry and somehow mellow, the tomatoes release their juices and instead of the intense flavors you might otherwise associate with a tomato sauce, you get more of a tomato broth. When you mix this with the hot cooked pasta and parmesan cheese we’ve suddenly entered the healthy comfort food category for when I need a little lift. Basically, with the perfectly ripe tomatoes that August gives us, this is the perfect dish. Please note I wouldn’t recommend making this with anything but the best tomatoes AND beware, you will have the worst onion/garlic breath possible, but I think it’s worth it!
3 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1/3 cup parmesan, grated
6 ounces spaghetti (I used whole wheat with great results)
First prepare your tomatoes by filleting them. To do this cut each tomato into quarters and then run your knife along the inside , next to the flesh to get rid of all the seeds and goopy stuff. You’ll now have 12 flat little triangles with which to make a dice from. Once diced, combine this with the onion, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large, non-reactive bowl. Allow this mixture to sit at room temperature for at least an hour. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions and toss this with the tomato mixture and grated parmesan. Combine well and serve immediately.