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Angel Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Recipe: Angel Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Remarks:

    There's a thing called a "fresh" sauce in Italian cooking. It just means the ingredients are fresh and you never heat them up. You chop the ingredients, let them macerate for a while so they blend and soften, and then you put them on top of pasta. You can easily double it if you have more mouths to feed.

    The feeling in your mouth is sort of like the cold tomato and lettuce in the BLT. Here you're putting a cold or room temperature sauce on top of warm pasta. The juxtaposition feels refreshing in your mouth on a hot day.

    This is a great vegetarian entrée. You can serve with a side salad (for example, Zola's Caesar Salad). A hunk of bread with olive oil for dipping might be nice.

    You can also use this dish as a side. Served with a piece of grilled chicken, it makes a fun meal. Even a piece of grilled fish would be good. A halibut or sea bass come to mind.

Servings:
This can be a side dish for 4 or entrée for 2.

Ingredients:

    Angel hair pasta for 2 (Follow box suggestion for portions and cooking instructions.) Most angel hair pasta takes just 3 to 4 minutes to boil, so you won't have a hot pot on your stove for long. You can use any pasta you choose. The angel hair delicacy just seems to taste better when it's hot outside.

    5 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped (The secret here is FRESH, RIPE tomatoes.)
    2 tsp garlic (Jar garlic will work but fresh will give your dish more "bite.")
    1 large shallot, minced
    A sprinkle of cracked red pepper (optional) (The kind some folks put on pizza.)
    6 Tbl olive oil (divided)
    Salt and pepper to taste
    8 fresh basil leaves cut into chiffonade (Chiffonade is explained below.)
    1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

    Up to a few hours ahead

    In a medium bowl, place your tomatoes, garlic, shallot, cracked red pepper and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix thoroughly. Grate your salt and pepper over the mixture and mix again. You want some salt to bring out the flavor in the tomatoes. How much is up to you. The cracked red pepper is optional but gives the sauce extra zip. If you use the cracked pepper, you probably don't need much black pepper.

    You want this mixture to sit now for up to a few hours. You can put it in the refrigerator if you like the idea of COLD sauce, or you can leave it on your kitchen counter. The flavors will meld during this time and you'll have a nice, chunky sauce.

    When getting ready to serve cook your pasta ...

    While the pasta is cooking, you are going to make your chiffonade. This is a French term for "little ribbons." Stack the basil leaves on top of each other. Then use a sharp knife to cut them into little thin ribbons. That's your chiffonade. Stir this into your tomato mixture.

    Drain your pasta and put in a large serving bowl. Pour on the rest of the olive oil and stir in the Parmesan. Mix it up really well. Put a portion of pasta on each plate and spoon on the sauce. You're ready to eat.

Serving Suggestions:

Enjoy!

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