The Zen of a 1,000-Slice Tomato Sauce
This recipe, which serves two, combines two things I love: fresh grape tomatoes and relaxing with razor-sharp knives. If you, like me, find chopping and slicing therapeutic, get those sweet grape tomatoes (the kind from Costco are particularly good, but little farmers’ market cherry tomatoes will work just fine and be more sustainable) and find a supersharp knife. I use a Japanese Shun chef’s knife, and I also have a beautifully serrated blade that works perfectly on tomatoes (also a Shun, it has round, gently scalloped serrations, not toothy, edgy ones that would tear the skins). A superb paring knife would work, too. But if your knife isn’t sharp, forget it.
Measure 2 cups of the tomatoes, or use a pint box. Slice each grape tomato—sideways, not lengthwise—into as many sections as you can. I often get six or even eight out of one tiny tomato. Yes, it takes a few minutes, but thinnest wins in this dish. You’ll end up with a beautiful pile of tiny tomato disks. By the time you are done you will have entered a Zen state, if you like this sort of work. And you don’t have to strain or skin the tomatoes.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a finely minced garlic clove, and stir until fragrant but not brown. Add the tomatoes, a few sprinkles of crushed red pepper if you like that, and crank up the burner to medium-high. Let the tomatoes bubble in the oil and their juices without stirring until the tomatoes melt a bit but are not broken-down. Toss once using your best pan-toss technique. Correct with a bit of sugar if the tomatoes aren’t sweet enough. Add a bit of chiffonaded fresh basil if you have it, and sprinkle on some sea salt. Add fresh, almost-done spaghetti (one cup of cooked pasta per person) with a bit of pasta water to the pan if it’s not a sauce, and stir until nicely coated. Serve ASAP with a market-fresh salad.
Calories: 358; Fat: 14.7g (sat 2g, mono 10g, poly 1.9g); Protein: 8.9g; Carb: 48.3g; Fiber: 3.7g; Chol: 0; Iron: 2.5 mg; Sodium: 491 mg; Calc: 36 mg
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