Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pasta & Fresh Tomato Sauce

Last week was busy. We had extra drama performances, a spring concert, baseball practices (and games) and the school play. My mother-in-law was in town, too, for a chance to cheer on her grandsons.

Despite all of this activity, I managed to cook dinner — twice. This is one of the meals I made.

In the time it takes for water to boil and pasta to cook, you can make a fresh and light tomato sauce instead of opening a jar. This recipe uses the same method as my recipe for Halibut with Tomato, Orange and Olives.

Cooking the tomatoes yourself is an easy way to dish up a healthy topping for pasta. A little lemon juice brightens up all those fresh flavors.

Mangia! Mangia!

Pasta & Fresh Tomato Sauce

3/4 pound pasta (any shape; my son Sam picked out rigatoni)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 pints cherry or grape tomatoes (I like a mixture of red and yellow ones)
1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Fill a large pot with water and 1 tablespoon oil and set over high heat until it boils.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until onion just starts to get light brown. Add tomatoes and let cook for a few minutes.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook per package directions. Place in serving bowl after draining.

Continue to cook tomatoes, stirring occasionally. They will begin to burst. You can also gently press down on the tomatoes to release their juices. Cook until all tomatoes have burst and sauce thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes total.

Add lemon juice, parsley salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Pour tomato sauce over pasta and gently mix to coat all of the pasta. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese or your favorite Italian cheese.

I served my pasta as a side dish with grilled baked halibut and asparagus. It makes a terrific main dish, too, along with a nice green salad.

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