Monday, September 3, 2012

Tortellini with Grape Tomato Sauce


     Someday I want to share my mother's spaghetti sauce recipe with you. It is a doozy. You need at least a day to make it, but it is seriously worth it. You can taste countless generations of Italian cooks in every rich,  mellow, meat infused mouth full. There's just one problem; I can share this recipe with you and give you a list of ingredients and some directions but I guarantee you it won't turn out like mom's. You see, primary to the success of this recipe is something that's not on the recipe card. It's something that's not even around anymore. And that was my mother's intention to make the best  sauce of anyone, anywhere at anytime.  Every Sunday when my mother made this sauce it was an exercise in perfection for her.  And this personal alchemy was all in the little details. For instance, the addition of the water she used to keep her hands from sticking when making meat balls. She didn't like throwing things out, even this water. Her thought was that the water had a lot of flavor in it so why not! That's not really something you can quantify in a simple recipe.

     So, in the mean time, let me share a super quick and delicious pasta sauce (less arcane but equally as appetizing) made from fresh grape tomatoes. Have I told you about the volunteer tomato plants that are hanging around the pond this year? One is a grape tomato variety that has literally thrown itself across the pond and is spreading out in all directions yielding plump little gems.

     The other is an heirloom of some kind, and I just picked this giant beauty (spoiler alert: Last Caprese Salad of the Season).  

Tortellini with Grape Tomato Sauce

1 12 ounce package cheese tortellini
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 2 cups grape tomatoes, rinsed and halved
1/ 4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 2 t chopped fresh is you have it)
3 tablespoons tomato paste 
1/4 cup water
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the tortellini according to the package directions. Heat oil in a heavy bottom medium sized pot. Add onions, garlic and oregano. Cook on medium for 5-8 minutes or until onions are beginning to get translucent. Add tomato halves and cook for another 5-8 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, water, salt and pepper and simmer another 10 minutes. Pour sauce over cooked and drain tortellini and serve with grated Parmesan cheese. Yields 3 to 4 servings.

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