Thursday, April 10, 2008

CSA week 19 - fresh tomato and summer squash pasta sauce

I noticed today that my tomatoes were a bit past their prime so it was time to put them to use. However, since they were a little mushy I didn't want to use them raw, but since they were so nice fresh I didn't want to cook them very much either. The solution I came up with was a lightly cooked fresh tomato sauce.

There are two main approaches to fresh tomato sauces. Either you take a large tomato, blanch it, peel it, seed it, chop it and then cook it down a little bit, or you take a handful of small tomatoes and run them through the blender with a splash of wine and a drizzle of olive oil. I tried to leave the sauce thick and bit chunky, but the tomatoes were a little watery so I ended up with a rather thin sauce. Nothing a little cooking down couldn't fix.

But first I fried up some chopped squash in butter and olive oil and, on impulse, an equal amount of bay scallops. If I had known I was going to be adding seafood I would have used white wine with the tomatoes. After those ingredients were cooked through and a bit browned, I removed them and added the tomato sauce to the pan along with some basil. Fresh would have been nice, but I was all out so dried. I simmered that for maybe four minutes while the pasta cooked, returned the squash and scallops to heat through, added the al dente pasta (and some black olives which were a mistake so I'm not going to mention them). Cooked for another minute and, bar some grated Parmesan, it was done.

It was a nice light fresh combination of flavors. It might be a little disappointing if you're expecting the intense flavor of canned tomato sauce, but it was subtle not bland. In retrospect, I think the flavors may have worked better at room temperature. I'll have to try that next time.

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