PASTA WITH FRESH TOMATOES
I thought it to be appropriate that the first recipe I post is a pasta dish.
It's no secret I love pasta - it is versatile, great for any season, goes well with so many ingredients, is simple to make and I am yet to meet someone who doesn't like it.
Since we are in the middle of the summer and everywhere I look there is an abundance of fresh, ripe, fragrant tomatoes, it was only fitting to make one of my favourite dishes that showcases them in all their seasonal glory. Because this simple recipe requires very few ingredients, make sure they are the best you can find. It comes together very quickly, so have your table set and your family and friends close by.
Here is what you need:
2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, quartered or halved depending in the size
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons capers
2-3 anchovy fillets (you can make it without them but I promise you won't taste them, they just add great savoury flavour)
1/4 teaspoon dry chilli flakes (or to taste)
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
3 sprigs fresh basil, leaves removed
freshly ground black pepper
1 package dry pasta (I used spaghetti, but penne, rigatoni or tagliatelle work)
1/2 to 1 cup reserved pasta water
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Cook pasta in large pot of salted water until very al dente (it will finish cooking in the sauce).
Meanwhile, in large enough sauté pan to hold sauce and pasta, gently heat olive oil, anchovies (if using) and garlic until fragrant but not coloured and anchovies have dissolved.
Turn heat on high and add tomatoes, chilli flakes, salt, pepper and thyme. Stir few times until tomatoes just start releasing juices and are getting soft. Stir in capers and reserved pasta water (use your judgement how much is needed, all depends on how juicy tomatoes are, you can always add more if necessary). You are looking for just enough sauce to coat pasta, one that is not too watery or thin. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
Gently toss pasta in sauce, let it cook together for a couple of minutes, add more pasta water if it looks too dry, then toss again and pour into your serving bowl. Sprinkle with fresh basil and parmigiano.
Serve at once with more parmigiano on the side.
NOTE: If you prefer your tomatoes without skins (some tomatoes may have harder skins), blanche them in hot water for a few seconds, remove, cool and peel, then use same as above.