Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pasta con pomodoro

What an exciting time of the year! I love the summer solstice. The excitement of the coming growing season reaches its fever pitch right now, at least for me, just as the days reach their longest. Today, I took perhaps the last chance I'll have for a while to spend a few hours in the kitchen making dinner. I've been working on homemade pasta for a while, and it finally came out the way I wanted it.

Fresh pasta's a wonder to make, super simple: a cup of flour, two eggs, mix into a dough and then knead for ten minutes until it becomes like silk. Let it rest for ten, and then roll it thin (I mean THIN). Cut it into strips, then cook in salted boiling water for a few minutes. The pasta comes out delicate, with just enough bite. For this, i cut very wide strips, more than an inch. In the future, I'd probably cut it a little narrower, but the wide noodles worked well for this sauce.

Speaking of sauce, it couldn't have been easier. Into a hot pan, I put a few tablespoons of olive oil, chili flakes, salt and three cloves of garlic, sliced thinly. I cooked that for a bit, but before the garlic browned, I added a can of San Marzano tomatoes. For me, the flavor of that tomato was really key for this dish, so while Romas or Beefsteaks, or even fresh tomatoes, would work, they wouldn't work as well. I seeded them, too. The sauce simmered while I made the pasta, probably about half an hour. The tomatoes softened enough that they could be broken up with the side of a spoon, and then I finished the sauce with torn fresh basil.

Finally, because pasta with tomato sauce, as delicious as it may be, does not a full meal make, I made tonno e fagioli. Using canned cannellini beans, I made a dressing with about three tablespoons of very good extra virgin olive oil and a tablespoon of lemon juice, two minced cloves of garlic, salt, and freshly ground pepper. I mixed in the can of beans, and then added a can of tuna. After resting in the fridge for the flavors to meld, it made a perfect accompaniment, although it could have used some parsley (if for nothing else than color) and honestly the lemon juice would maybe have been best replaced with red wine vinegar.

So that was the meal.

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