Tuscan-Style Spaghetti with Uncooked Tomato Sauce
CorbisOnce in a while you happen upon a book so honest and affecting that it changes how you think about food. In The Tuscan Year(Atheneum, 1985), Elizabeth Romer chronicles the month-by-month cycle of life on a Tuscan farm that grows, prepares, and forages for everything it eats. It is sensitive and insightful, and the recipes of Silvana Cerotti, the family's matriarch, reflect the seasonality of true Tuscan cooking.
Several of her dishes have become family favorites. But the one we dream about all year -- spaghetti with an uncooked tomato sauce -- can be made only with the sweet, sun-ripened tomatoes of summer. Any good-sized tomato from a home garden or farmers market will do -- the popular Celebrity or the luscious heirlooms such as Cherokee purple, pink Brandywine, and pink-streaked Yellow Pineapple, which are sunshine on the plate. (What won't do are the pretty but flavorless supermarket tomatoes.) A quality olive oil is also essential to the success of the pasta. Buy the fruitiest and finest you can afford.
Although Signora Cerotti prefers less garlic and basil than I do, in other respects my recipe, like hers, is seasonal, simple, and sublime.
Get the Tuscan-Style Spaghetti with Uncooked Tomato Sauce recipe.
Tips on Making the Spaghetti with Uncooked Tomato SauceStart the sauce for the spaghetti in the morning on the day you plan to eat it for supper. The tomatoes need to sit with the basil and garlic for 8 hours.
Don't refrigerate the sauce during the 8 hours; let it stand at room temperature. Chilling tomatoes gives them a mealy texture.
When you core and peel the tomatoes, leave the skins on if they don't slip of easily -- dipping tomatoes in boiling water dulls their flavor, and that super ripe flavor is critical in a raw sauce.
Shopping resources: Italian ingredients, including pasta and olive oil, can be ordered online from ditalia.com and dpaloselects.com.