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Monday, May 14, 2012

Rustico Pomodoro e Basilico

This is a very simple, very easy to make, very healthy, tasty, pasta.

It is, in my opinion, Italian cooking at its most distilled and delicious.

And it takes less than 20 minutes to make.


I didn't know what to call it, so I'm just referring to it as a rustic tomato basil sauce.  This is an incredibly modest sauce with very little adornment.

And its simplicity is its strong point!

If you've heard me talk about dominant and complementary flavours in a dish, this is a perfect example.  The basil takes centre stage, and is just strong enough to hold it with the strong acidic tomato flavour right behind in second place.

This is one dish where ingredients such as garlic, onion, and pepper, are intended to be subtle.  Gentle undertones hinting at their presence, and lifting up the stronger flavours of basil and tomato, rather than competing with them.

This is also one example of a super fast concoction which is still super healthy and delicious.

It is, in order: fresh organic tomatoes, fresh basil, onion, green onion, garlic, salt and pepper.

So, here we go:

Start your water on high heat.

Wash the tomatoes, basil, and onion.

Prep the veggies.

You don't have to, but I then pureed the garlic and onion, and about a third of the basil.  (Remember, I'm a texture critic, so uniform consistency is huge in my book.)

Pour the puree into a medium saucepan, and start that going on medium heat with a dollop of extra virgin olive oil.  Now start pureeing your tomatoes, seeds and all, a few at a time, and slowly add them to the pot.

Finely chop (by hand - it's OK to have a bit of texture in the soft, malleable, and flavourful basil leaves) the rest of the basil.

Add that to the pan as-is, throw in a generous pinch of salt, and bring the whole mix to a watchful boil (keep an eye on it).


I could just drink that!

Now your water is likely boiling, throw in your pasta, and let it cook to al-dente, and keep this tomato sauce boiling on high heat for the whole time.  When the pasta is ready, drain the noodles, and put them back in the large pot, but then pour the tomato sauce right on top.

Mix the whole thing up carefully - making sure to stir 'up-down' and not just 'around', basically bringing the contents from the bottom to the top continuously - for at least 5 minutes.

That's it.

Serve it up with some freshly ground pepper, and some shaved parmigiano reggiano.

In case you're interested in calling me on my timing, please note the time in the photos, and you'll see it took exactly 20 minutes from start to finish.  And, no, I did not photoshop them.  :)

I even had some time to clean up a few things in the kitchen, as well as prepare the table-settings.

The best part about this, however, is its deliciousness.  The flavour is so awesome.  Sure, it's a little cliched with the tomato and basil, but there's a reason that pairing is so prevalent!