Back in the 1920’s, a popular term for a female was a ‘tomato.’ It could vary, ‘hot tomato,’ ‘ripe tomato,’ and a variety of other, most likely equally sexist or racy, forms of the term. My great-grandmother, Mary, used this term a lot from what I’ve heard. If you’ve seen the movie ‘Chicago‘ (one of my favorites, I was clearly born in the wrong era), you’ll hear Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly call Renee Zellweger, who plays Roxie Hart, a “dumb tomato.” Except of course the ‘o’ sounds are replaced with more of an ‘a’ sound; as in tah-may-tah. I pride myself on my knowledge and use of “old-timey” phrases and sayings. So while I know this has nothing to do with pasta or tomatoes, I’m not kidding when the first thing I thought of when I saw this recipe was some broad, maybe a gangster’s moll, who’s maybe gettin’ a bit old to do the flapper thing… sitting in a speakeasy with a flask in a flapper dress- an overripe tomato.
Speaking of overripe tomatoes… here’s a picture of my new haircut/color. I think it’ll look even more awesomesauce when the long half gets longer… don’t you? Pretty sweet.
“Wait, what do you mean half my hair is gone!?”
And speaking of sweet, I always have a plethora (WHOA! SAT WORD ALERT! GET OUT YOUR DICTIONARIES!) of overripe tomatoes. I buy a ton of fresh vegetables and fruits, and in the summer they ripen and start to get mushy so quickly I can’t keep up. So I was super duper excited when Giulia Melucci, the author of one of my favorite food-related books, I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti posted this recipe on Food52 and tweeted about it. I’ve made a bunch of her recipes: most namely the healthy penne with broccoli, the simple tomato sauce (which happens to be my favorite sauce ever) and of course the infamous Fuck You cakes. So I was really excited to make another, especially since it used up all those mushy tomatoes I’ve got.
OVERRIPE TOMATO SAUCE
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ shallot chopped (mine are big, if yours are small use one)
- 1 medium ripe tomato, skins, seeds, juice and all (it’s summer for God’s sake!) chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon white wine
- 1 handful of torn basil leaves
- some torn up oregano (*my addition, not in Giulia’s recipe)
- 4 ounces spaghettini
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
- Parmigiano cheese
- While pasta water is coming to a boil, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add shallot, saute until translucent, about one minute. Add tomato, salt, white wine, basil, oregano, lower heat and simmer until pasta is ready.
- Combine the sauce and the pasta, add the pine nuts, sprinkle with cheese to your heart’s content. Serve.
Again, this recipe is for ONE. Double, triple or quadruple it for your needs.
I used thin linguine instead of spaghettini. I didn’t have any white wine, only red, so I omitted it altogether. I also left out the pine nuts- not a big fan. I used half of a huge onion instead of a shallot as well, and I cut it a bit thicker. As far as the tomatoes go, I used two fairly large tomatoes and about half a package of grape tomatoes that were way overripe. It was so delicious. So fresh, bright and summery tasting. A perfect summer sauce to use up those overripe tomatoes that doesn’t take forever to make on a hot day. I can’t wait until my tomatoes start to grow to make this sauce again with my own homegrown vegetables! As it is, it’s so nice to just walk out my back door and snip off some fresh basil and oregano to use.