Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer, Summer Time

We're big pasta people 'round here.  Since it's summer time, I thought it was the perfect time to make a summer pasta.  This is my go-to sauce when I want to make a quick dinner. It doesn't matter what pasta you choose, or what embellishment ingredients you decide on, it brightens any dish.  Another bonus is that it is so quick and easy that you don't have to fuss over it all day like many traditional Italian sauces. This is my father-in-law's sauce. He learned how to make it from his close Italian friends, so I'd like to think of it as semi-authentic. Tonight I chose to use whole wheat angel hair which I topped with sauteed broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms and onions.  This was a lovely light dish for a hot summer day.  Serve it with a simple salad and crusty bread, and you're all set for company.

Nate's Two Cents: Since this dish features a sauce I ate with Italian sausage about, oh, six thousand times growing up, I was intrigued by the idea of eating it sans meat.  Well, as it turns out, the sauce really shines when it doesn't have to compete with anything fleshy.  It comes off lighter, more vibrant and citrusy, and well-suited for the asparagus-broccoli bits that color the dish.  I'm not saying I'm totally rehabilitated yet from my addiction to Scimeca's, but slowly I'm gaining a new appreciation for dishes that come from the garden rather than the butcher's block. Who knew?

Simple Summer Sauce (Easiest Pasta Sauce in the Whole World)

3 Cans of Organic Diced or Whole Tomatoes
3 Garlic Cloves minced finely
1 T. Olive Oil
1 1/2 t. Dried Basil
2 Pinches of Crushed Red Pepper
Fresh Ground Pepper

In a cold pot, add olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper.  Turn up heat to medium.  As soon as the garlic is fragrant, add the tomatoes and the rest of the seasonings.  Garlic burns easily, so make sure it doesn't burn, or your sauce will be bitter.  Reduce heat, and cover.  Cook over very low heat for 20 minutes.  Use a stick blender to blend your sauce to your desired consistency.  I don't add salt, but you can if you want.  And that's it!  Easy, huh?

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