Why become friends with the neighbor who has a large vegetable garden? You want to make this tomato sauce. It’s a simple recipe, but it requires the best ingredients. The best ingredients are garden fresh–minutes from being picked off the vine. At this time of year, gardens are overflowing with an abundance of overripe tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, tender herbs, summer squash, and bell peppers. They’re the classic ingredients for making a simple, summer tomato sauce.
This is a quick sauce. The only tedious step is peeling the skin from the tomatoes after lightly blanching them. Afterwards, the sauce takes a few minutes to make. This is not meant to be a long simmering sauce, for the tomatoes are candy-sweet. When the sauce is almost done, lemon basil leaves are added for a bright citrus taste. Afterwards, spoon the sauce over lightly tossed pappardelle pasta and shaved zucchini. Pappardelle is wider than fettuccine and narrower than lasagna pasta. It’s the perfect pasta to pair with the long zucchini shavings. Before serving, scoop a generous amount of organic, whole-milk ricotta cheese on top of each bowl. It adds a creamy taste to a simple dish.
In the summer, forget the canned tomato sauces and make your own. This is a basic recipe to include eggplant, yellow squash, chili peppers, and more fresh produce. By the way… Don’t forget to invite your friendly neighbor for dinner to thank them for sharing their garden fresh vegetables.
- 1-1/2 lb. plum or heirloom tomatoes
- 1 to 2 zucchini
- 8 to 10 oz. pappardelle dried pasta
- Olive oil; as needed
- 1 medium onion; chopped
- 1 green bell pepper; diced
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves; minced
- Crushed red pepper; to taste
- (Optional) 1/8 to 1/4-cup red wine
- 1-cup chopped fresh herbs** (thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary...)
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper; to taste
- 1-cup shredded lemon basil leaves; more for garnish (if unavailable, use Italian basil leaves)
- Whole milk ricotta cheese; as needed
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil. Place tomatoes in the pan for about 30 seconds or until the skin starts peeling. Remove tomatoes to a plate and let cool. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin. Roughly chop or dice tomatoes and reserve their juice. Set aside.
- Trim ends of zucchini. Using a vegetable peeler, continuously shave zucchini vertically from the stem to the bottom end until the inner seeded core appears. Discard the seeded core. Set shaved zucchini aside.
- Cook pappardelle pasta according to manufacturer's directions until al dente.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain with cold water. Gently toss pasta and zucchini shavings together with olive oil. Set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add onions and green bell pepper. Lightly mix until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper. Stir for about 30 seconds. Be careful not to brown or burn garlic.
- Add dice tomatoes and their juice, red wine (optional), and fresh herbs to the onion mixture. Season the sauce with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Cover and reduce heat to bring sauce to a low simmer.
- After about 5 to 10 minutes, add the lemon basil, and then turn heat off.
- Place zucchini shavings and pasta in individual bowls. Spoon tomato sauce on top of pasta. Place a generous scoop of ricotta cheese on top. Garnish with fresh black pepper and lemon basil leaves.