It's that tomato time of year, and we can't get enough of them. One of our favorites--and our friends' favorite too--is this raw tomato sauce for pasta. We included it in our first book, The Fire Island Cookbook. If you have tomatoes growing in your garden, lucky you, but if not, there's no time like now to head to the farmers market or a farm stand and get a bushel of juicy, sweet summer tomatoes. The best thing about this recipe is that you can toss the tomatoes, basil and olive oil together in the morning, head to the beach, and let it "cook" on your counter while you are enjoying yourself in the summer sun.
FUSILLI WITH “CRUDO” TOMATO SAUCE
When Mike was growing up in New Jersey, his mother would buy copy-paper boxes filled with slightly bruised tomatoes for just a few dollars. The really banged-up ones went into cooked tomato sauce, but the ripest and best were set aside for this amazing raw tomato sauce. It seems as though it might make a lot, but trust us—there won’t be any leftovers!
8 large tomatoes (about 6 pounds)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
2 pounds imported Italian fusilli pasta
1/3 pound Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Core and seed the tomatoes. Turn each cored tomato upside down on several layers of paper towels and allow the excess juice to drain for 30 minutes. Cut each tomato into 6 to 8 slices, and then cut each slice into about 8 “cubes.” In a large glass bowl, combine the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon salt, black pepper, pepper flakes, and oil. Cut the basil into strips with scissors, or tear by hand, and add to the bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for a few hours. Do not refrigerate.
2. Bring 8 quarts water and 2 tablespoons salt to a rousing boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, according to package directions. (For al dente pasta, cook for about 1 minute less than recommended.) Drain.
3. Transfer the cooked pasta to a large serving platter. Top with the crudo sauce. Grate Parmigiano-Reggiano over the pasta using a Microplane.
WINE PAIRING: Planeta Rosé: The fragrant acidity of this pomegranate- and floral-scented Syrah rosé agrees perfectly with fresh ripe tomatoes.
From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.