I’ve mentioned in my egg salad post that I always buy more tomatoes than I actually needed. Most of the time this happens when I go on my healthy diet phases. After two servings of fresh salad, I would get tired of it. Forgotten, the tomatoes end up mushy and visually unappetizing to eat. Destination? Trash bin.
But that’s extremely wasteful. During times of recession, wasting is not a good idea.
So instead of letting the tomatoes rot, I use them to prepare a simple pasta sauce.
MATERIALS and METHODS
Pasta con Pomodori (Serves 1)
- 60 g Pasta of your choice
6 pieces cherry tomatoes halved (or 1 large tomato cut into 16 pieces)
1/2 tsp dried basil or dried oregano
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 Cook pasta as directed.
2 On a small skillet, toss the tomatoes in olive oil over medium heat. Add dried herbs and season with salt and pepper.
3 Lower the temperature and simmer for 5 minutes or until the tomato is cooked.
4 Add the cooked pasta and mix.
RESULTS and DISCUSSION
Tomatoes. You can use any type of tomato for this dish. I used cherry tomatoes because I had a package left in my refrigerator. (They also happen to photograph better.) Don’t be afraid to use the slightly mushy tomatoes. Emphasis on slightly. Sure they do not look nice but after chopping and tossing them in a pan, will looks matter?
Scale Up. For a lot of you, 60 g of pasta barely makes a dent. I prepare this dish mainly for dinner, when I try to keep the amount of carbohydrates low. You can scale it up to 80 g of pasta. Adjust the amounts of the other ingredients except the amount of olive oil and dried herbs.
If you are having friends for dinner, this pasta is an easy first dish to prepare. Prepare a big batch of pasta, keeping the amount to a minimum because you don’t want to fill up your guest after the first dish! Once they’re cooked, you can prevent the pasta from overcooking while it’s waiting on the side by washing it with some cold water while they are in the sieve. You can then wash them again quickly in hot water prior to putting them in the skillet.
I recommend preparing the sauces in batches because this way the pasta will be nicely covered with the sauce. If you have the space, use two skillets simultaneously. Just make sure you can handle them at the same time.
Fresh herbs. Naturally this pasta dish can be prepared with fresh herbs. For my single serving recipe, I would use about 6 fresh basil leaves, hand-torn into several pieces.
No to cheese. The boyfriend informed me that to put Parmigiano over pasta makes me look ignorant. This is because in Italy, it is not a common norm to do that. He told me that only poor people, who couldn’t afford to prepare a proper meal, would put Parmigiano over cooked pasta. It was a way to make the meal richer. Because I cannot stand the look of indignation on the boyfriend’s face just by the thought of me doing that, I’ve resolved to avoid that little sprinkle on top every time I eat pasta.
Aside from pasta con pomodori, my other favorite simple pasta is spaghetti aglio e olio. These two recipes have saved me several times during my hell weeks. Heaven knows how many times that happens in a year.
An empty refrigerator should not stop you from eating something good. With just a few ingredients, you can whip up any basic pasta recipe that’s easy but delicious.