Thursday, July 31, 2008

Raw Garlic Not Best Choice for Anniversary Dinner

For our anniversary this year we decided to go to Maine for a two night/three day getaway. Our oldest daughter, Jess (the babysitter), works nights and her only two nights off are Sunday and Monday. We planned our trip for those nights, but that left us with no plans for our actual anniversary on Friday.

The new X-Files movie opened that night and we both LOVED that show when it was on, so I wanted to go to the movies. But the hubby had a long, long week at work, and he was less enthusiastic.

When I asked Steve what he wanted to do for dinner, he actually said, “We could just get pizza.” As if. When I gave him the evil eye, he shrugged. “We’re already going away.”

I got his point, and agreed that our anniversary budget was already more than used up. But pizza was just unacceptable. Since Friday was really steamy, I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy meal or a hot kitchen. I had a whole bowl of tomatoes so I decided to make a cold tomato sauce using a recipe my mother originally got from Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook Cookbook.

The idea is to create a room temperature sauce and then toss that with hot pasta. I’ve had this dish at my mother’s house and remembered liking it. My mother changed Martha’s recipe by adding some diced raw zucchini for crunch. I agreed that was a good addition and I decided to exchange the onion for a shallot for a milder flavor.

While I was making the sauce, the raw garlic and shallot gave me pause, but it was getting late and I just wanted to get dinner on the table. It was a decision I came to regret. Not that the dish wasn’t plenty tasty, but oh my, the raw garlic was potent. So potent I was glad we decided to skip going to the movies, because really how could you subject anyone to that? Our breath was too scary even for Mulder and Scully to handle.

I’ve refined the recipe so you don’t have to be afraid to leave the house. Simply sauté the shallot and garlic for three minutes, just enough to sweat them and take away the pungency. This sauce tastes like pure summer…

The Recipe:

Quick Summer Tomato Pasta Sauce

1 pound of spaghetti, fresh if possible
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 pounds very ripe tomatoes
1 shallot minced
1 clove garlic minced
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 cup basil sliced chiffonade style
1/4 cup olive oil

Drop tomatoes in four quarts boiling water. Remove after one minute. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and coarsely chop. Saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes in a tablespoon of olive oil. In a bowl mix chopped tomatoes with remaining ingredients. Let rest an hour at room temp.

Cook pasta until al dente. Toss hot pasta with tomato mixture. Serve with parmesan cheese.

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