Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quick Pasta with Marinara Sauce

I can almost promise this will be the easiest dinner to make yet still be absolutely delicious. If you do this in tomato season (July-October) even better but still good anytime.

3 pounds fresh **vine-ripened** tomatoes (or 1 28 oz can Muir Glen whole plum tomatoes)
(don't use gas-ripened tomatoes from a Safeway or any tomato out of season!)
3 cloves garlic crushed in a mortar or with a knife
a few leaves of fresh basil
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
pasta

If using fresh tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare a bowl with ice water. Blanche a few tomatoes at a time in the boiling water for about 1 minute. Remove and put into the bowl with ice water. Remove the tomatoes from the ice water and peel by hand. (if you can't peel them yet, put them in the boiling water a bit longer)
If using canned tomatoes, just open the can. :-) Not quite as tasty but still good.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. When hot add the crushed garlic. Once the garlic starts to color, add the peeled or uncanned tomatoes and the pinch of salt. Cook at a lively simmer for about 30 minutes.
While the sauce cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. When the sauce is 5 minutes from being done, add the basil leaves. Cook another 5 minutes then use to dress the drained pasta.

I have to believe that most people just don't realize that just using fresh tomatoes cooked for a little time with a bit of the right seasoning is going to kick the ass of any jarred prepared tomato sauce they can buy in Trader Joe's or Safeway.