Thursday, August 23, 2007

Angry Entrees: Pasta with Enraged Tomatoes

The tomatoes above are from The Neighbor's garden. We bought our tomato plants at the same time, from the same nursery. Hers are thriving, bearing fruit and ripening. Mine are pathetic. I think I'll be able to harvest one tomato sometime next week, if the rains hold off and the sun keeps shining. It's very sad. The garlic, however, I grew myself. It's hard to mess up growing garlic.

I learned this recipe long ago from my dear friend Lorene, who is an incomparably talented gardener and cook. She's the only person who has ever served me edible Brussels sprouts, the first person to turn me on to the joys of the fava bean. The fact that she grew those vegetables herself may have had something to do with the success of her dishes.

During our fresh-out-of-college-and-broke-beyond-belief years, she taught me amazing culinary tricks for dining well on pennies. One of those tricks was this dish, which is best, in my humble opinion, in the summer when you can get your hands on garden-fresh tomatoes that taste like tomatoes. (If you make it in the winter, used diced tomatoes from a tin and not those horrible flavourless water bombs in the produce section. Winter tomatoes: boo and hiss).

Pasta with Enraged Tomatoes

olive oil
1-2 T. chopped garlic
3-4 pounds of fresh, full flavored tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 T. fresh basil, cut in a chiffonade
red chili flakes, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

1 # dried pasta (I like penne for this dish but you can pretty much use whatever you fancy)

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

When the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Toss in the garlic and saute quickly, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Add in the tomatoes and cooking, stirring occasionally, just until they begin to break down and a sauce starts to form. (You aren't going to cook the tomatoes all the way down, the chunks should still hold most of their shape). Turn down the heat to low if necessary to keep the sauce from cooking down too much before the pasta is ready.

Just before pasta is ready to come off the stove, add in the basil and enough chili flakes to really tick off the tomatoes. (If you are serving tender palates, go easy on the chili flakes but serve more at table for those of strong palate). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain pasta and put the drained pasta in the skillet with the sauce, tossing to coat.

Turn out into a warmed serving bowl* and serve with lots of grated Parmesan cheese.

* The easiest way to warm the pasta bowl is to fill it with water from the pasta pot before draining the pasta in the sink. Let the water sit in the bowl while you toss the pasta and sauce in the skillet, then dump out the water before serving up the pasta.


Anonymous said...

Oh this is really good stuff! I think all dishes should have an emotionally charged title.
That tip-o-the-day bit at the end is a good'n and one that I think I can actually manage.

Lorraine said...

Do try it, Hat. Just remember to dump that water before you put the pasta in the bowl...unless you feel like soup.

Anonymous said...

lol, oh man. You must know me or something.

Seattle Coffee Girl said...

Those are some pissed off tomatoes, having to hang with olive oil and home grown garlic like that. Wow, ENRAGED!

Lorraine said...

Hat, tee!

Too true, SCG. It's simply outrageous and they are mad as hell about it!