When I have heirloom tomatoes growing in the backyard that are so ripe, they turn purplely-red,
I shoot pictures of them. Glamour shots. Ad nauseum. That’s what I was doing when my husband came home from work a few nights ago. No dinner in sight. He gently asked what we were going to do for dinner. I lied and said, ” I was just getting ready to make a marinara sauce. Would you be a sweetheart and run outside and snip some basil [while I take a few more photos]?”
I hadn’t planned to blog the cooking of this meal. There was no mise en place. No specified amounts. No recipe. Just a lot of gorgeous tomatoes and a long history of making marinara sauce. As my husband walked out the door and saw me start taking pictures, I detected the tiniest of sighs. I told him not to worry; dinner would be ready by the time the pasta was finished cooking.
I put a pot of salted water on the stove for the pasta and started chopping the garlic and tomatoes. By the way, there is no reason to peel or seed fresh ripe tomatoes. You wouldn’t do that if you were eating them over the kitchen sink with a salt shaker in your hand like my grandfather used to do (“before my heart attack,” he always lamented) so why do so with a marinara sauce that is only going to cook for ten minutes?
Yield: Approximately 2 quarts of sauce
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
About 3½ pounds of very ripe tomatoes, rough chopped
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
Leaves from 5 stems of basil, rough chopped
8-12 ounces mozzarella, cut into one-inch cubes
1 pound pasta, cooked al dente
Grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese, to pass
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
While waiting for water to come to a boil, start prepping the tomatoes, garlic, and basil: core tomatoes and chop into 2-inch chunks, peel and mince the garlic, and snip the basil leaves off the stems. By this time, the water should be boiling, and it’s time to add the pasta to the water.
Next, heat the oil and garlic together and, when hot, add the chopped tomatoes. Do not brown the garlic. It will soften with the tomatoes. Add salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Cook the tomatoes on medium-high heat for about 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Al dente is the goal; do not allow pasta to overcook. If all goes according to plan, the pasta, and the tomatoes will be ready about the same time.
Add cooked pasta to a serving bowl. Add the mozzarella chunks. Add the basil to the hot tomato sauce and stir it in just before you are ready to add the sauce to the bowl of pasta. Mix it all together and serve hot.
Pass the grated Reggiano. Buon appetito!
To see which varieties of tomatoes I am growing this year, check out this post.
To see which varieties of cherry tomatoes I am growing, check out this one.
Related Posts on Italian Style Cooked Vegetables
Grandma’s Italian Fried Cauliflower
Pasta e Fagioli, aka Pasta and Bean Soup
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Asparagus and Chicken
Amazingly Delicious Sautéed Carrots
© 2016 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. No photos or text may be used without written consent.