Around this hot and sticky time of year just about everyone in the food world posts some variation of this recipe. (I’ve personally seen it in about 4 places over the last week.) Now I’m not putting this up here to copy; rather, I’m here to correct/perfect. I’m certainly no authority but we’ve been making this uncooked tomato sauce pasta dish for years in my family (It’s even so loved by my boyfriend that he simply will say “uncooked” when asked what he wants for dinner). There are a few key steps based in the choice of ingredients and the amount of time the tomato mixture must rest that make this version a step above the rest.
Uncooked Tomato Sauce
24 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
lots of basil, the more the better
1/2lb fresh mozzarella in water
1lb penne pasta
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Pepper
Let’s start with the tomatoes. I usually buy some sweet cherry tomatoes still on the vine. In such a simple recipe, good ingredients are of the utmost importance so be sure your tomatoes are sweet and juicy. Cut the tomatoes in half and place in a large dish then add your minced garlic. Cover the tomatoes in olive oil so that they’re one quarter to a half submerged- this will of course vary by your dish so be careful not to use too much. Then add generous amounts of sea salt. The salt will allow the juices of the tomatoes to seep out. Add pepper and then chop or rip as much basil to your liking (I like a lot). Cover this mixture and allow it to sit out at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours.
When you’re ready to eat boil your water and begin to cook the pasta. While the pasta is cooking grate the soft mozzarella. This will be a little difficult, if it is good mozzarella it should fall apart. Cook your pasta to al dente, drain and place in your serving dish. Uncover your tomato mixture (don’t lie, I know you snuck a few bites during the 4 hours…this means you know how delicious this is going to taste over the pasta and that your apartment/home likely smells like a garlic bomb went off) and add it to the pasta. Then begin to mix the pasta together while adding the mozzarella. This step usually works best with two people, as I learned tonight. As the cheese is mixed in the heat of the pasta will cause it to melt, something that if you used that hard mozzarella from the store it wouldn’t do. Keep some bread on the side to soak up the juices at the end of your dish and enjoy.