Pappardelle With Fresh Tomatoes
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Shame to cook tomatoes when they’re at their best. Roast them, by all means, in the bleak of winter, when even the so called Italian vine tomatoes are frankly rubbish – only Italian by name, I suspect. Polytunnel, more like.
I love fresh tomatoes with good quality pasta. The question whether you should buy ’fresh’ supermarket pasta is a moot point – buy dry. But good. If you think about it – and if you’ve ever made fresh pasta like I have (will be featured at some point, no doubt), you know that it lasts fresh for about 3 minutes, until you hang it to dry or plunge it into boiling water. ‘Fresh’ pasta from supermarkets clearly has lots of E stuff and additive stuff in it to make it last on a tray for weeks. Leave it where it is. Proceed to the ‘pasta’ aisle where you’ll find perfectly respectable dried stuff.
This recipe uses ripe fresh tomatoes and you’re blessed if you’ve grown your own in summer. Even in relatively rubbish climate like mine (UK) tomatoes grown outside are unmatched in flavour to the supermarket variety. It helps if you’re living with a tomato aficionado who lovingly sprays the plants with aspirin and waters them with a molasses solution – I kid you not. Sadly the fact that he’s also the Weather Man doesn’t guarantee lots of sunshine desperately essential for a good tomato crop – but at least I know when they’re going to be kaput and save some by drying.
- For two people:
- 200g good quality pasta
- 4-5 medium sized ripe tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic
- a bunch of fresh basil
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 100g freshly grated parmesan
- truffle oil and/or a little shaved truffle (optional)
Cut incisions at the top of the tomatoes and pour over boiling water. Leave for a minute or two, drain and peel the skins. Deseed them thoroughly, sprinkle with salt and leave on a sieve lined with a paper towel to drain excess liquid, for about 10 minutes. Dice them quite fine.
Peel and finely chop the garlic, chop up half the basil leaves.
Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and sweat the garlic gently, add the chopped basil and cook for a minute. Cook the pasta according to the instruction on the packet.
Turn the heat up under the pan with garlic and add the diced tomatoes, only to warm them up. Drain the pasta and add to the pan, tossing well to cover it in the tomato and garlic mix. Add half the parmesan and toss again.
Serve sprinkled with the remaining basil leaves, torn, drizzle with truffle oil and sprinkle with the shaved truffle, if using, and a generous topping of more parmesan.