Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Pasta!

It's definitely summer in South Texas!  Temperatures are in the high 90's (at least), the days are long, and the tomatoes are ripe and red!  
I've mentioned before that one of my hobbies is collecting and reading old cookbooks.  Sometimes there are the most intriguing recipes that I'd never heard of before.  This recipe is definitely one of them.  It's from a book titled, "Cook Until Done" and is written by a man that had learned to cook during his travels throughout the world.  Every chapter begins with a girl, so I think he might have been some kind of "international playboy" back when they said that sort of thing :)  The names of all his dishes don't ignite much inspiration.  For example, this refreshing, interesting, delicious pasta dish was simply titled, "Cold Sauce".  While it is a "cold sauce", that title no more describes this wonderful summer dish than "puffed eggs" describes a souffle!  The sauce is a combination of vine-ripened tomatoes, other veggies, fresh herbs, and olive oil.  It is refrigerated until very cold, then served on the hottest (as in temperature) whole-wheat pasta you can manage.  The combination of hot and cold with the savory sauce and nutty pasta-- well, it IS inspirational, despite the mundane title!  
This dish has all the summer essentials:  simple, bright, seasonal, healthy, and SO GOOD!!
Note:  This recipe uses a food processor.  If you don't have one, just mince everything up.
Cold Sauce (serves 4)
12 oz. whole wheat spaghetti (use 16 oz. if you have big eaters)
2 medium, vine ripened tomatoes, *peeled cut into large pieces
3 medium sized stalks celery, cut up into small chunks
1 Tbl. capers
1/2 large green pepper, or 1 small one, seeded, and cut into chunks (can also use an Anaheim chile if you like spicy!)
2 Tbl. fresh oregano leaves
2 Tbl. fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbl. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

* To peel tomatoes, submerge into boiling water for about 30 seconds.  Run under cold water briefly to cool.  The skin will peel off easily.
Add the tomatoes, celery, capers, green pepper, oregano, and basil to the food processor.  Pulse until everything is minced, but don't let it get smooth or pureed.  Pour into a bowl.  Sprinkle with the vinegar.  Add the salt and pepper.  Stir everything gently, then pour the olive oil over.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours-- longer is great!
Cook the spaghetti according to package directions and put your pasta bowls in the oven to warm them.  When the pasta is done to your liking, drain it and divide among the warm bowls.  Stir the sauce well, then spoon over the hot pasta.  Serve immediately.  Mmmmmm!!!

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