"When you know a thing, to hold that you know it, and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it—this is knowledge." (from The Analects of Confucius)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Move Over Marinara. Here's Something...Different

When your true love is marinara, it’s difficult to stray far. For me that means eschewing anything remotely Alfredo-like. True, when making a pasta dish that’s particularly vegetable rich (e.g., zucchini, asparagus, yellow squash, red onions, spinach) I do go with, say, a light garlic-lemon-olive oil combination.

But the thought of red sauce is always close. The tomato vines of my mind grow toward a holy grail in the form of a boiling pot of pasta. And I almost always oblige them.

But I’m not extreme. I can be persuaded to try something new, especially when basil and nuts are involved, pesto being a distant second to the beloved tomato sauce. But what about bringing these flavors together? Not in a contrived concoction but in a hearty melange of cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, toasted almonds, and olive oil?

I discovered Pesto alla Anna last summer in GQ magazine (July ’08). I’ll send you to Liz’s Cooking Blog for the recipe. A couple of notes: Al dente means al dente. The cooked pasta moves to a large bowl in which a wonderful orange-colored sauce awaits a late summer rendezvous. That means the pasta’s going to absorb more liquid—which means don’t even come close to overcooking it! One more thing: I’ve made this with various pastas (spaghetti, penne, rotini). It works. Try it.

So think about grasping a little more summer flavor in the form of the cherry tomato. Whether you have a surplus of them yourself, are buying them at your nearby farmer’s market, or are enjoying the largess of coworkers who garden, transforming cherry tomatoes into Pesto alla Anna is the perfect start down a path of new pasta possibilities. (And, yeah, I’ll try to be more open, too.)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Man - that sounds good! I have copius amout of cherry tomatoes - Sweet Million - they are called. Thanks for the tip J. Douglas! AEB

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