I could eat fresh from the garden pasta dishes all summer and hopefully will. At the same time, summer is turning toward fall so we’d best enjoy them while we can.
There have been crates and crates of garden tomatoes this season. I sorted a crate of yellow and orange, cut ripe ones into a dutch oven, and turned on the heat. My process for making tomato sauce is easy.
Cook the cut tomato pieces on the stove top until the skins begin to loosen. Depending on the variety I add a little liquid to the pan so they don’t burn. Carefully put the tomatoes into a perforated funnel to drain. Mine is an old-style farm funnel with a wooden masher. Once they drain, save the liquid if there is an immediate use for it, otherwise discard. (A kitchen can only use so much of it). Finally, process the drained tomatoes with the wooden masher, pushing the pulp through the funnel. This thickens the sauce without cooking it to death on the stove, making a fresher-tasting pasta sauce.
When the day began all I knew was to use some tomatoes for a meal. I found a bag of Gemelli dried pasta in the storage rack and decided that would be dinner.
There are countless variations to making pasta. In addition to pasta noodles prepared according to instructions on the bag, I used orange and yellow tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil and eggplant. Garnishes were cherry tomatoes and fresh parsley. Parmesan cheese is optional, which if left out makes this a vegan dish.
Here is my current process.
In a large skillet sautee onions and diced eggplant in extra virgin olive oil. When the onions begin to turn translucent, add two cloves of minced garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir constantly until everything is cooked.
Add the fresh tomato sauce and incorporate. Add a generous amount of fresh or dried basil and re-season. There is variation in the moisture level of tomato sauce made this way. Cook it to the desired thickness.
When the pasta is done, reserve a third cup of pasta water and drain it. Add the noodles to the sauce along with the pasta water. Mix gently until the pasta is thoroughly coated. Add halved cherry tomatoes and freshly chopped parsley and toss until the tomatoes warm.
Serve with a vegetable side dish like steamed green beans, broccoli or cauliflower.
This was my dinner. I hope readers are also enjoying fresh from the garden pasta this summer!