2 pounds Ripe, juicy, unpeeled tomatoes
2 Tbs Olive oil
1 Cup Chopped onion
2 tsp Minced garlic (add more or less depending on how you like garlic
1/4 tsp Red pepper flakes
1 Pound Pasta (small rigatoni, or penne would work best)
3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan spring for the good stuff, not the crap in the green can
2 Tbsp Unsalted butter
4 Cups Field greens or whatever non-iceberg lettuce you have on hand
Put on your cooking music (I chose Brian Wilson’s Smile because great summertime food deserves great summertime music) and pour yourself a beer. Or a glass of wine. Or other drink of choice.
Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally. give each half a firm squeeze to get rid of as many seeds as possible. If you’re really anti-seed, you can pick out the pulpy, seedy portion with a thin knife, but you still won’t get them all anyway. Chop into medium sized (3/4 inch) hunks and put in a large bowl.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent and a little soft (about 4 or 5 minutes). Add the garlic and saute another minute or two. Add the tomatoes and any liquid in the bowl, about 3/4 tsp salt, and the red pepper flakes.
Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the tomatoes have schlubbed down and most of the liquid has evaporated. You’re shooting for a thick, but not paste-like, texture that’ll stick to the pasta. This is what mine looked like about 5 minutes before it was done. Figure on it taking about 12-20 minutes depending on how erratic your stove is. Give it a taste and add more salt if you think it needs it.
In the meantime, cook your pasta. Notice how, if you’re using rigatoni, the noodles arrange themselves upright like little chimneys at the bottom of the pot even at a high boil. It reminds me of the tube sponges I saw back in my scuba diving days. Drain and return it to the pot. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and the butter and stir until its nice and melty. Add the tomato sauce and greens and stir until they begin to wilt.
Divide into pasta bowls, sprinkle with reserved cheese and enjoy. Serves four.
Juicy tomatoes are a must. If they aren’t ripe and juicy, you’ll probably have to add water when making the sauce. I used an heirloom variety from my garden called Rutgers, but try a farmers market or the organic section in a pinch. Not peeling the tomatoes also adds a to the texture of the sauce.
The sauce can be made a day or two ahead and warmed up in a pan before adding to the pasta. It’s tasty enough that you’ll want to eat it with a spoon though.