Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Pasta

Today I had pasta on the brain. We have so many luscious tomatoes I thought we needed a fresh sauce over a hearty pasta. One thing lead to another and suddenly I found myself peppered with flour and making fettuccine.

In the past when making pasta I used a rolling pin and a knife to flatten and cut the noodles. But wait, they make a special gizmo that should make the job easier and I just happen to have a gift card to a cooking store. So I now have this new toy.

I won't say it was smooth sailing but I was able to turn out some fine pasta with just a slight snafu. Ok, I really didn't pay attention and when the noodles were cut some stuck together but I made a nice recovery. (With some expert help from my Galley Slave). Here's what they looked like before cooking.

So then I made a very simple sauce of pancetta, fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, yellow squash and basil. You can embellish a fresh sauce with any type vegetable or meat you can imagine. I blanched about 4 large tomatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) to remove the skins, then crushed them by hand. I sauteed about 1 cup of diced onion in 2 TBLSP olive oil and 1 TBLSP butter until it was golden in color, then added 2 garlic cloves minced. Then I added 2 slices of pancetta that were 1/4 inch thick cut into 1/4 inch slices and let them sizzle for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Let this mixture simmer until the tomatoes have absorbed all the oil, about 20 minutes. Then I added my veggies and just let them cook until slightly wilted. And here's dinner.

If using fresh tomatoes try to use meaty ones, romas are best if available. If you don't have fresh tomatoes use a large can of plum tomatoes, just crush them before adding to the onion mixture. You can leave out pancetta, I just had some and thought it would be a great flavor for the mix. Eggplant and zucchini are great veggies to add. This is a "loose" recipe, but can be made quickly and it's oh so good. And of course you don't have to make pasta, I just got a crazy urge.

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