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Great Basil, Great Tomatoes...

...now I'm looking for a great recipe for a summer pasta sauce, either cooked or uncooked, that will showcase both. There are all kinds of tomatoes available at the produce stand including many varieties of heirlooms, San Marzano (locally grown), and others. I'm not sure which ones, or which combination would make the best sauce. Your suggestions?

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  1. Drop fresh tomatos in to a water boil to slip skins off then chop , Put a little really good evoo in a skillet and saute some fresh chopped garlic then add fresh tomatos add either white or red wine then finsh with the fresh basil. I add quite a lot but you need to put it in to your taste as it can be quite strong. Finish with some kosher salt. this is so fresh and good tossed with pasta and some good grated cheese.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Analisas mom

      I do this without peeling the tomatoes, just dice and saute. I like white wine vinegar too. A bit of butter for mouthfeel.

      1. re: scuzzo

        Yes I would do it with skin on but sometimes the home grown tomato skins are real tough and I have texture issues.

      2. re: Analisas mom

        These suggestions are all sounding wonderful. The consensus seems to be to keep it simple -- little, if any, cooking and few ingredients. Well, I'll be headed back to the produce farm tomorrow. I'll let you know how my sauce turns out.

        1. re: CindyJ

          Okay, so I made a really wonderful summer sauce. I ended up using a combination of locally grown San Marzanos and heirloom Striped Romas. I sauteed some thinly-sliced garlic in EVOO, to which I added some crushed red pepper. I ran the tomatoes through a tomato press to remove skins and seeds, put them in the pan with the oil, simmered the sauce briefly to thicken it a bit, added a bit of dry white wine, added a couple of stems of basil (leaves attached) for the last 5 minutes of cooking, then removed the stems. At serving time I added a chiffonade of fresh basil to the plated pasta. It was quite good, but VERY expensive, given the price of farm stand tomatoes. Which makes me wonder -- is it worth it to use these tomatoes for a sauce that is cooked? Would good-quality canned tomatoes have served me just as well?

        2. re: Analisas mom

          Exactly what I do, but I don't even bother with the wine. I do peel, though. It's very easy if you cut an "X" in the bottom, especially if the tomatoes are very ripe. Only takes about 30 sec.

        3. Just curious how your locally grown heirloom San Marzano's taste compared to the official Italian DOP varietal ? I've never had locally grown.

          Having had the imported many times I'd try the local San Marzano's run thru a tomato strainer/mill and added to golden thin sliced garlic and crushed red pepper done in EVOO, generous salt and pepper...bring to a boil and add "pre-al dente" pasta to pan...heat again till it all comes together and San Marzanos "stick" to the pasta..add fresh torn basil pieces on top at end. The beauty of the San Marzano's is that their texture when milled and heated creates a juicy silk on the pasta rather than a pool below.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pondrat

            I don't know that the local San Marzanos can really be compared to the imported, which are always canned. But I think I'm going to enjoy experimenting.

            Without a tomato mill, should I just remove the skin and seeds and then chop? Will I still get that wonderful texture?

            1. re: CindyJ

              That should work..... But how bad can an heirloom San Marzano be whether milled or chopped ! Let us know.

          2. This is my favorite summer pasta dish - it is uncooked. A wonderful way to enjoy those fresh, local tomatoes - and it's very easy.


            2 Replies
            1. re: seconds

              This is a gorgeous recipe, and thanks for posting it. I have a whole kitchen full of tomatoes and basil. Guess what I'm having for lunch........?

              1. re: SSqwerty

                You're welcome! This dish is one of the reasons I look forward to summer. :)

            2. I like to roast fresh San Marzano tomatoes. Toss them in a little olive oil, s/p, some of the basil, a few cloves of garlic. Roast the whole thing for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes caramelize a little on the outside. Then dump the whole mixture into a blender and puree until smooth. Strain it to get any big chunks out (a medium mesh strainer). Season to taste. If it's thick, add a little of your pasta water to get the consistency you want.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Shane Greenwood

                I would just do a caprese style pasta salad - with buffalo mozzarella pieces, basil chopped roughly, cut up tomatoe, olive oil, salt, pepper and cooled al dente pasta - simple and delicious. Sometimes I add alittle vinegar as well.

              2. I am currently obsessed with turning tomatoes and basil into pasta puttanesca. I'm one of the truly lazy who doesn't mind skins or seeds, so I merely chop the tomatoes and add them to the rest of the ingredients (and anyway, seeding tomatoes removes all the umami-rich gel). Sometimes I just sweat a little onion with the anchovies and add that to the rest of the ingredients, and let the sauce sit at room temp for an hour to let the flavors meld, and dump it over the hot pasta-- the tomatoes and basil having never been cooked.

                I use 3 or so lbs of glorious tomatoes
                a tablespoon++ or so of capers
                a tin of anchovies (absolutely worth getting over the skeevy factor; these are integral!)
                several handfuls of basil, leaves torn
                a half cup++ of kalamata or other punchy, dark olives
                some onion, preferably red. Minced.
                plenty of olive oil

                I think the uncooked version is fabulous on a hot day. I usually cook it, but ever so gently.

                Good with a rose with some real body.

                1. This is my favorite way (this is for one serving so increase amounts accordingly):

                  fresh tomato pasta: chop up either one huge tomato, a couple medium tomatoes, or a bunch of cherry tomatoes, into small (1/2 inch) pieces. Put them in a bowl (one you can add the pasta to and eat from) and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and a tiny bit of sugar, drizzle with olive oil (maybe a tablespoon) and add in one crushed whole garlic clove. Stir together and leave to macerate for at least half an hour (and up to a few hours). When you're ready to eat cook some pasta. Use whatever shape you like, I usually do thin spaghetti or fine linguine. Just make sure the water is really well salted since the pasta needs to be well-seasoned for this. When the pasta is perfectly al dente the way you like to eat it take it out of the water with tongs (don't drain, it still needs a little water clinging to it) and put it directly into the bowl of tomatoes. Toss together, adding more pasta water if it seems dry. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and olive oil. At this point you can add any of the following if you like: ground black pepper, torn basil leaves, torn pieces of fresh mozzarella, a little lemon zest, a little fresh goat cheese if you feel like it. (In your case, obviously torn basil leaves at least.) Remove the garlic clove and eat. Maybe on the patio with white wine.

                  1. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20...

                    If you find yourself with leftover tomatoes, we've used all sorts of garden tomatoes for this recipe. Really delicious and so simple.