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Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce (summer)

Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce (summer)

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This sauce is always a crowd-pleaser because it celebrates two flavors that are not often found “raw” on a pasta: ripe summer tomatoes and high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Not only does it have the look and “mouth-feel” of a tomato-cream sauce, the olive oil gives it a richness that doesn’t feel as guilty as heavy cream.

4 large heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup pine nuts
Fresh basil, marjoram, thyme
1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 cup parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
1 clove garlic, thickly sliced
Asparagus, zucchini, or zucchini blossoms
1/2 lb farfalle pasta

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

Meanwhile, bring water to boil in another pot that will hold all the tomatoes. With a knife, make an “X” on the bottom of each tomato that just breaks the skin. Cook the tomatoes in the boiling water for a couple minutes, or until the skin starts to break away from the flesh. Remove the tomatoes. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the tomatoes (they should strip off easily from where the skin was cut).

Put the pine nuts in a small nonstick pan over medium heat to toast for a few minutes. Be careful—they toast quickly! Set aside off the heat.

Rinse and dry whichever vegetable you opt to use. If using asparagus, discard the bottom one-third of the asparagus and slice on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces. If using zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds before slicing. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan and add the garlic. Cook the garlic for 1 minute and then add the vegetable. Cook for a 2-3 minutes until the vegetable is al dente (if using zucchini blossoms, cook until wilted). Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside off the heat.

Place the tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Pulse briefly to mix. Add the fresh herbs. With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the tomato mixture. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and mix again. Adjust for salt and pepper.

When the pasta water is boiling, add 1 to 2 handfuls of coarse salt, stir to dissolve, and then add the pasta. When the pasta is al dente, discard the water and mix the pasta with the raw tomato sauce, the sautéed vegetable, and the toasted pine nuts. Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan.

Can be served hot or cold.

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