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No-Cook Pasta Sauce!
Imagine the fastest, freshest, lightest, easiest, tastiest pasta sauces ever. Now, imagine not having to cook them! My kitchen credo is "less is more", especially in the summer. Using few ingredients, with minimal preparation, means less time in the kitchen, more time with your dinner guests or family, fewer dishes to wash and more flavor - and nutrients in the final dish. No-cook pasta sauces emphasize good-for-you olive oil and garden-fresh produce and herbs, all of which are abundant this time of year.
Everyone loves pasta and the reasons are simple. Pasta is such a smart choice for a healthy diet, plus no other food is so economical and versatile, so quick to cook, or tastes quite so divine. That's why many of us are preparing this delicious staple not once, but several times a week for effortless suppers, light lunches, or as the focal point of special-occasion dinners.
Here are helpful hints on what basic ingredients and condiments to keep in your pantry - dried pastas, olive oils, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, anchovies, bottled roasted peppers, marinated artichokes, Italian canned tuna in olive oil, canned chickpeas, olives - for combining with fresh foods for fast and flavorful sauces.
All no-cook sauces are prepared in the same way, that is, the ingredients are chopped or added to a pasta serving bowl and set aside to warm to room temperature, or just until flavors mingle. The hot drained pasta is immediately tossed with the ingredients to heat the sauce and that's it! Nothing could be simpler.
With the summer tomatoes starting to show up at the Farmer's Market and uncooked pasta sauce made with the freshest tomatoes should become a summer standard! It's the perfect pasta to serve after a lazy day at the beach or by the pool or in the garden or on the patio. Feel free to experiment, but remember the golden rule: for the finest results, use only the freshest, most flavorful tomatoes and the best olive oil, cheese, and specialty items such as olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
No-Cook Puttanesca Sauce - Puttenesca means "harlot style," and legend has it that this fiesty-flavored sauce was created by Neapolitan ladies of the evening to try to attract potential customers with its lusty aroma. Feel free to add chopped anchovy fillets or whole green olives (not pimiento stuffed) if you crave even more excitement!
"Summer cooking implies a sense of immediacy, a capacity to capture the essence of the fleeting moment."
The first batch of pesto - that marvelous Genoese basil sauce for pasta - officially welcomes summer back to our kitchen. Like tender shoots of early spring aspargus, or the tangy crunch of an apple as autumn slides into winter, basil, and pesto, are sure signs of seasonal change.
In Genoa, the preparation of this sauce is steeped in years of tradition. It must be pounded with a marble pestle in a marble mortar; only the Genoese basil, bathed by salty sea air as it grows, will do; the purest versions contain nothing but basil, cheese, garlic and olive oil.
In truth, this simplest pesto is a revelation - complex, heady, powerful with basil and garlic, only just tamed by the cheese and oil. But summer is too long, basil too plentiful and pesto too good to limit oneself to a single version. Pine nuts and sweet butter have become accepted additions over the years, and we love those versions as well. Pesto is delicious tossed with freshly cooked pasta.
Pesto Possibilities -
Mix 2 tablespoons pesto with 2 tablespoons sour cream, and dollop into your favorite summer soup.
Whisk 1 tablespoon pesto into 4 eggs as you scramble them.
Season mayonnaise with a tablespoon or two of pesto when making potato salad.
Brush broiled chicken with pesto to taste about 10 minutes before the end of cooking time. Serve with sauteed tomatoes.
Whisk together 2 tablespoons pesto, 4 tablespoons sour cream and 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon style mustard for a superb saucing for poached or grilled fish.
Try this recipe for Fresh Pesto Sauce.
"Pesto is the quiche of the '80s."