We are still getting fantastic tomatoes, and probably will for a few weeks yet. I was staring down a pound of very ripe, red beauties that sat warming themselves on my sunny windowsill. My husband loves pasta, me... not so much. I think what I don't like about pasta is how heavy it can feel, (and how heavy I feel after eating a plate of it.)
So, my personal mission became to create a very light tomato sauce that would just skim over al dente penne. I also wanted to change tack, moving away from basil to season my tomatoes. I went with rosemary, because I knew that I would also be incorporating slivers of country ham into my sauce.
The rosemary brought a savoury sense of autumn to the sauce.
The basic sauce has just 4 ingredients and can be used as is, or as a base for a more elaborate sauce. I give instructions for both below.
Basic Rosemary Sauce
1 tablespoon (dessert spoon) extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 pound very ripe tomatoes, squeezed of seeds, roughly chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary (whole)
12 oz penne
1 teaspoon EVOO
8 oz (220 grams) country ham (very salty, southern ham) or prosciutto, cut into slivers or small cubes
1 shallot, minced
handful of green olives, chopped
1 glug dry white wine (best from the glass you are drinking)
Basic Rosemary Sauce
Several shakes of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
A ladle (1/2 tea cup) of pasta cooking water
2 tablespoons, pats, of butter or EVOO
1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add in the pasta and start the sauce. In a large saute pan, pour 1 teaspoon EVOO and add in the salty ham and shallot. If using country ham, it needs to be cooked, if using prosciutto, it simply needs to be warmed. Now add in the green olive and deglaze with a glug of wine. Allow to bubble away for a minute or two then add in the Sauce and a ladle of pasta cooking water. Bring to a gentle simmer and allow to bubble until the penne is done. Once done, drain the pasta and add the butter or EVOO and red or cayenne pepper into the sauce. Incorporate, then toss in the penne.