Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Aldi Challenge: Fresh Tomato Pasta

The Aldi Challenge began with a bang, or at least a very tasty meal. It probably didn't hurt that I started off with one of my very favorite summer dishes, a very simple, very fresh tomato sauce, and it is a Nigella recipe and you know how I love her. This sauce is not very difficult, although skinning and seeding and chopping the tomatoes can take a bit of time, it is worth it. Also, it gets better the longer it sits, so you can make it ahead of time and then when you are ready to eat all you have to do is boil the pasta and toss it all together. The Aldi tomatoes were not bad, just like any grocery store ones, if you aren't constrained by a challenge I would recommend getting some juicy, flavorful farmers market ones.

Start with about five good sized tomatoes.  Put them in a big bowl and pour boiling water over them so as to make them easier to peel.
After a few minutes in the boiling water bath, carefully pull them out and skin them.  The skins should come off easily.  Next deseed them, I find it easiest to slice them in half horizontally and scoop them out with my fingers.

Take the seedless and skinless tomatoes and chop them up, tossing them in a bowl as you go.  Add about a 1/4 cup of olive oil, about a tablespoon of sugar, a good grind of fresh black pepper and sprinkle of salt and a garlic clove that you have smashed with the side of your knife (by the way, everything except the garlic was not from Aldi, we already had it, you probably do too).  Mash it all about with a fork.  You want to make it a bit saucy.  Then wait, at least half and hour.

When you are ready to put your pasta (from Aldi) on to boil, cube a ball of fresh mozzarella (from Aldi), if you so desire, and toss it with the tomatoes.  I quite like the melty cheese in this, but you could skip it if you really wanted.

Once the pasta has cooked, drain it and return it to the pot.  Toss the tomato mixture with the pasta, with some fresh torn basil if you have any on hand (we have some in our herb garden and when I remember that it exists I toss it in with all kinds of pasta dishes).  Put the lid back on the pot and let it all hang out for a few minutes in order to let the cheese melt.

After the cheese is nice and gooey, serve it up with a bit more basil on top.

Fresh Tomato Pasta from Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson
about 5 medium tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, bruised
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, cubed
handful of fresh basil
1 pound of spaghetti

Put the tomatoes in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let sit for a few minutes.  Remove the skin and seeds from tomatoes, then roughly chop.  Place in a bowl with the olive oil, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper.  Mash it about with a fork, cover with plastic wrap and let sit out for 30 minutes to 6 hours.  When ready to eat, boil water for pasta.  Toss the mozzarella with the tomato mixture, adding most of the basil.  Cook the pasta, drain it and return it to the pot.  Add the the tomato sauce and put a lid on the pot, letting it sit until the cheese melts.  Serve, topping with the rest of the basil.

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