Monday, July 12, 2010

Pasta with Baked Tomato Sauce from the Wednesday Chef

I have been absolutely useless lately. Last week a heat wave blew through New York with the speed of a slowly rotting cantaloupe and left in its wake a city of zombies and stinky garbage. 

There were days I'd imagine flinging myself in front of a steam roller, finally succumbing to the pavement, my flesh and bones melting into the gleaming black tarmac that had turned to honey in the 100 degree weather. But instead I'd just stagger into another air conditioned establishment to cool my head long enough to see straight, and then return to the undulating heat outside. 

As you can imagine, food was the last thing on my mind,  and as our air conditioner blew a dainty stream of cool air into our room, turning on a hot appliance seemed like torture. Also, the fridge was empty except for a few ingredients that required heat, including a package of frozen grass fed chuck that I'd bought on an impulse the weekend before thinking maybe I'd try out a beef stew recipe (what was I thinking?!) so, we ordered in. We got pizza and Indian food and I can't even remember what else. But I did not cook. I couldn't. The cookbooks that I usually draw inspiration from were about as interesting to me as the telephone book, and I figured I'd spare them the heat as well.

Then one day as I was browsing some of my favorite blogs, wondering if I'd ever feel like preparing another meal again, I happened upon a recipe for Pasta with Baked Tomato Sauce posted by the Wednesday Chef, that got me drooling and thinking maybe this was worth turning on the toaster oven. It's a simple recipe made with fresh ingredients that takes about 10 minutes of prep work followed by 20 minutes of unfussy baking. This I could handle. You slice open cherry tomatoes, sprinkle them with olive oil and a mixture of breadcrumbs, Parmesan and Pecorino cheese, and garlic, bake them until they're soft and fragrant, mash them up, and then toss with pasta and fresh basil. I made it Thursday night and Chris asked if we could have this every night from now on. Then my mother made it Friday night, and I made it again Saturday night. This one's a keeper. And if you'd like the recipe,  you can just  click here.

I am now on Fire Island enjoying sun, waves and a glorious kitchen. It feels like a reward for enduring the past week, and I am once again dreaming of food. Maybe we'll have beef stew when I get back.

Be Cool.

The Ferry Ride over.


  1. This pasta dish is indeed delicious (even with store-bought cherry tomatoes) and if I can manage to get a decent batch of the cherry tomatoes from the garden to the kitchen without eating them all on the way I'm sure it will be even better! Oh by the way, Yeager's farm stand peaches are in, and boy are they good!

  2. Ooh! I'm so glad you liked it and it's becoming a staple in your family. And I'm literally turning green in front of the computer right now that you got to go to Fire Island! I love that place with a capital HEART.

  3. your cooking is mighty impressive and unusual! your blog makes me drool every time i read it. i've given you an award on my blog! xoxo --keep on cooking!

  4. I just recently found your blog and am moving into a kitchenless apartment in a week myself. I looked under your tools and now I'm curious what you boil your pasta in. Do electric water boilers handle that? Or do you have some kind of contraption that acts as a burner?

  5. Hi Katie, I use a cuisinart rice cooker/steamer to cook my pasta in. I just fill it up with water and turn it on (there's only one setting). It's definitely not ideal, and the pasta to water ratio is way off but it gets the job done and doesn't involve a hot plate. I don't think you can boil pasta in an electric kettle, but I highly recommend investing in a rice cooker/steamer. You can get pretty creative with them and they don't take up a lot of space.