Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tomatoes, Quite Simply

I was reminded a few days ago, of our trip to Italy and the simplicity of the food. Pasta with olive oil, garlic and hot chili peppers (spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino)... Pasta with tomato and basil (pasta pomodoro)...

I am a big advocate of simplicity when it comes to cooking -most of the time-, so that ingredients preserve their original flavor. For example, I've always loved to eat pasta with a dab of butter and maybe some grated gruyere on top; or bite into a tomato like you would an apple...

Juan cooked lunch on Sunday and made a delicious tomato sauce that he served over fresh pasta. It hit just the right spot for me so I asked him to make it again for dinner. Quand on aime, on ne compte pas. I suggested sauteed fresh shrimp. And it was, again, just right: juicy, sweet, tangy, and both soft and crunchy.

I'm quite excited to try it again with pan seared halibut. I think it will be very good. A sauce with such flavor and that can be used in so many dishes definitely has a place in my kitchen. And I hope in yours too. 

There's nothing quite unusual about it but I realized, again, how much we overlook the use of simple ingredients. It's right there, under our nose but somehow we always try to add something to it...

The recipe serves 2. It really is the correct amount to serve over pasta or seafood. It's just enough to flavor the main ingredient. 

1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 large tomato, 1/2 inch diced
1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence (if you do not have Herbes de Provence, you could use dried thyme simply)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper

In a saucepan, warm some olive oil. Cook the onion until soft on, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes (with their juice) and the herbes de provence and the crushed red pepper. Simmer until the tomatoes cook down and the sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

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