In my view, fresh, ripe tomatoes are meant to be enjoyed in their natural state, and nothing beats the taste of a tomato straight off the vine. When I start gathering the tomatoes from my garden, I'll often stand near the plants and just enjoy inhaling the wonderful smell. I follow my family's tradition and eat lightly salted slices or I just bite into one and add a pinch of salt with each bite. Little grape or sungold tomatoes adorn our salads and the boys eat them by the handful.
This summer we are growing San Marzano tomatoes, the classic Roma tomato for Italian cuisine, and I couldn't resist making a no-cook tomato sauce using these terrific tomatoes and some fresh basil and thyme from the garden. The kitchen was awash with the heady aromas of basil, garlic, and thyme, which also seemed to cling to my hands for a few hours after making the sauce, but I didn't mind a bit.
We thought the flavor was very good, and it was a no-brainer, easy dish to fix. You just mix together all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and let them sit at room temperature for up to three hours, then toss it with cooked pasta. You can make this a quick weeknight meal if you shorten the sitting time for the sauce. Michael and I agreed that there isn't enough sauce for a pound of pasta, so we would double the sauce next time.
[Updated August 8, 2013.]
No-Cook Tomato Sauce
- large non-reactive bowl
- large pot with lid
- 2 pounds ripe San Marzano tomatoes (or roma tomatoes, cored and cut into ½-inch chunks, about 4 cups)
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more to taste)
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- gluten-free pasta
- Stir together the tomatoes, olive oil, basil, thyme, garlic, black pepper, and pepper flakes in the large bowl. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
- Toss the sauce together with cooked gluten-free pasta and serve immediately.