Friday, November 2, 2007

Luisa's Pasta with Ricotta

Adapted from The Wednesday Chef

This summer I found myself buying, and cooking, and eating tomatoes. I ate tomatoes till the cows came home - and beyond that. They were just so good and so fragrant and so pretty (the tomatoes, not the cows) that I couldn't stop. One weekend I got to stay at the farm until Monday morning because we had a meeting closer to there than the City, and I had a small trove of tomatoes left. Precious beautiful tomatoes that I knew wouldn't make it to the next weekend. So about 6:00 a.m. I cut them in chunks, and put them in my largest saucier with some Maldon salt and a few glugs of olive oil, and let them simmer while I did my morning stuff. After about 30 minutes - maybe 45 (but I don't think so) - I put them through the smallest holes of my food mill and then froze them in one-cup increments.

But what, you ask, did I do with them then? In one of Luisa's posts, there's a hidden recipe. It's like a little secret waiting to be discovered. Not only does she divulge the wonder of Pasta Setaro, but in the middle of the post, almost as an aside, she slips in her favorite recipe for pasta with tomato sauce and ricotta. And that's what I did with those tomatoes. I got Pastificio F.LLI Setaro in what has turned out to be the shape I like the most, mezze millerighe, delicious ricotta, and did the following. It's really yummy, and my best new recipe of 2007. This with a small arugula salad and a glass of chilled minerally white wine, is a perfect - perfect - combination. And if it's August, and the tomatoes are so ripe they are about to burst through their skins, it is ethereal.

1 cup of chopped tomatoes that have been cooked with olive oil and Maldon salt to taste for 45 minutes if fresh and 20 minutes if canned and put through a food mill. I can't give you a precise measurement for the olive oil because it depends on how many tomatoes you are cooking. But if I cook six fresh tomatoes, I use two glugs so you get the idea.

Make a chiffonade of basil, using two to four leaves. Set aside. Sauté a sliced clove (or two) of garlic in a little olive oil until fragrant and lightly colored. Add the tomatoes and cook until just heated through (because you've already cooked them). Turn off the heat. Add the basil, the add 8 ounces (for two as a main course and four as a starter) of pasta cooked al dente. Toss to coat with sauce and then stir in a couple of dollops of really good fresh ricotta. Add grated cheese if you like. I would use Romano or Grana Padano here instead of Parmigiana Reggiano. But that would be your choice, of course. And I would recommend adding it sparingly because it's the ricotta that shines here. Luisa says it's bliss, and I have to agree.

1 comment:

  1. Hooray! I'm so glad you tried this. Isn't it delicious? I haven't made it in a long while - too long. But now you've inspired me. ;)


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