I have talked before about making pasta sauce, using fresh tomatoes is one of my favorites. On Labor Day after an enjoyable weekend with friends at their cottage, I did my shopping. It was very nice to sit in the sun by the water and make my list. By the time I got home it was close to 4 and then 5 to get back from the grocery. Thankfully pasta is quick.
One of the items I picked up was a pound of pancetta which I had sliced thick and diced when I got home.
I also had several tomatoes, some from the farmers market and some from my neighbor.
I started my pasta water boiling and used it to blanch my tomatoes so that they would be easy to peel.
While they cooled, I prepped my other ingredients.
I started by browning the pancetta, until nice and crispy.
While it browned I chopped my onion and Kalamata olives, and I peeled my tomatoes (making sure to stir the pancetta occasionally.)
When the pancetta was done I set it aside on paper towels to drain and proceeded to slowly cook the onion.
Meanwhile I opened my can of tomato paste, peeled my garlic, and coarsely chopped the peeled tomatoes.
When the onions were done I added the garlic and the pepper flakes.
Once they were fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes, I added the tomato paste and the chopped olives to the pan.
When the tomato paste began to darken I added the red wine vinegar and the chopped tomatoes, and then brought them to a boil. And then reduced it to a simmer and covered it up so that the tomatoes would fall apart.
Part of my inspiration was the basil I keep in my flower bed which is growing out of hand. I cut several sprigs so that I would have one cup of chopped leaves.
I also got out my remaining ingredients, and boiled my pasta.
In the meantime my sauce had thickened.
I added the pasta, Parmesan, pancetta, and basil to the sauce and stirred.
With a little extra cheese on top and fresh bread with butter, dinner was served.
Fusilli with Fresh Tomato and Olive Sauce
Beef and Lamb, Entrées, Pastas, Tested and Approved!
Prep 15 mins ∙ Cook 45 mins ∙ Makes 6 ∙ Source Bon Appétit | August 1999
- 1½-2 pounds plum tomatoes (about 8 large), peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 lb. pancetta or small meatballs (optional)
- 2 T. cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- ⅓ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, pitted, chopped
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 pound fusilli
- 1½ cups Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 ounces)
- 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
In a large pot (suitable for the pasta) bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil. Cut a very shallow “X” (try to just cut the skin) in each tomato and then immerse in the boiling water for ~1 minute. Remove from the water with a sloted spoon and allow to cool until safe to touch. Peel the tomatoes, coarsely chop, and set aside. .
Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. (If using meatballs or pancetta, brown, remove from pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside to drain; remove excess oil.)
Add onion and heat until translucent, about 10 minutes. Then add garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Stir in olives and tomato paste then continue cooking for a few minutes longer. Add tomatoes and vinegar, season to taste with ground pepper, then simmer unil tomatoes have fallen apart, at least 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce toss with 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, (meatballs or pancetta if using), and fresh basil then toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper (NO salt with pancetta). Serve with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Stirring in the basil at the end keeps it fresh and green in your dish.