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Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce

Cook to Cook: Exceptionally good tomatoes and olive oil you want to eat with a spoon are the only requirements for this recipe. Try a variety of tomatoes if possible-the punchy little Sweet 100s or Sun Golds, mellow beefsteaks and maybe one or two sweet yellow or orange ones. Tear the basil with your hands, rather than chopping with a knife. You enjoy more of its fragrance this way. Here's a trick for making pasta with raw tomato sauces taste lustier. Slightly undercook the pasta. Drain it. Spoon the juices that raw sauces always throw off into the empty pasta pot. Set it over medium-low heat, add the pasta and toss until the juices are absorbed, then add the pasta to the sauce. Pasta and raw tomato sauce is served at room temperature, never chilled. Wine Suggestion: A simple Tuscan red like Monte Antico or Santa Cristina's Chianti


  • 1 clove garlic split
  • 2-1/2 to 3 pounds richly flavored tomatoes if possible, one-third cherry type, one-third mellow-tasting, and one-third low-acid, unpeeled, unseeded, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1-1/2 tightly packed tablespoons fresh basil leaves or other favorite herb torn
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fusilli penne, linguine or spaghetti
  • 6 quarts boiling salted water
  • 1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated aged Pecorino Romano cheese or domestic Fontinella optional


  • Vigorously rub a pasta serving bowl with the garlic. Add the tomatoes, basil, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature while you cook the pasta, or up to several hours.
  • Cook the pasta in fiercely boiling water, stirring often, until tender yet firm to the bite. Drain in a colander and turn it into the pasta bowl, tossing all the ingredients together. Taste for seasoning and serve. If you like, pass cheese at the table.


Very good, September 2015