Saturday, August 18, 2007

Summer in a Bowl

I got the recipe for this dish from Nora Ephron's 1983 "novel" Heartburn, about a marriage gone awry in the midst of food and eating. I put quotes around "novel," because the book was a thinly disguised bonk on the head to Ephron's philandering then-husband, Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein. Oh, yeah, he's a horndog. I ran into him in the lobby of a trendy, upscale Los Angeles hotel some years ago, and his eyes went straight to my chestal region.
Anyway, Ephron did what I thought was very unusual at the time in her book. She interspersed recipes with her narrative.
But would they be fictional recipes? Did I dare to attempt one, or was she just taking poetic license?
I dared. It was great, and the easiest thing ever.
I can't give you the exact recipe, because somebody made off with my copy of the book, but it's so intuitive, you can just wing it.
Chop up some juicy, ripe tomatoes. A lot. Add minced garlic. A lot. Throw in torn-up basil leaves, as much as you like. Drown this in good olive oil, with some salt and pepper. Leave the whole mess out on the kitchen counter for a good few hours, while the summer temperatures help macerate it all into a no-cook sauce for pasta.
Slop it on the cooked pasta and give it a dusting of grated parmesan cheese. (It will not be a piping hot meal. That's the point.)
It's best with spaghetti, I confess. And it looks much better with spaghetti.
But (sigh) we dumped some over ziti and it was still very tasty.

20 comments:

Kalyn said...

I just saw a recipe very similar to this in Fine Cooking magazine and I'm going to make it soon. I have a sticky note on the page and it's working it's way to the top of my list!

dancingmorganmouse said...

Yum, though I'd most likely skip the pasta and just heap it on crusty bread mmmm

cookiecrumb said...

Kalyn: Don't miss it. Easy and fun. Uses up all your garden bounty.

Mouse: Oh! Bruschetta! Faw! Hadn't even thought of it. Now I will. (Hang in there, my little wintry pal.)

Dagny said...

I loved that book -- and the movie too. But the best part of the book was the recipes. I have to say that my favorite was the key lime pie though. Remember that one?

Chris said...

I love it! This is great....a must try.

Zoomie said...

Looks yummy and I could use those little summer multicolored cherry tomatoes...

Anonymous said...

I've learned from several other genius food bloggers that the way to go on the tomatoes is to cut them in half through the equator, then run each half over a box grater. Then, you're left with all this beautiful mushed tomato, and you're left with just the skin in your hand. (be careful of the grater, though) We've been eating this almost everyday. Also, try it with a little goat cheese thrown in!

katiez said...

I remember that book...I wonder if I still have my copy somewhere...
Great pasta sauce! I do a similar one with oregano and olives...
No-work, no-cook, my kind of sauce!

Kevin said...

CC,
Did you see this: http://seriouslygood.kdweeks.com/2007/08/baked-ziti-with-chicken.html

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: I forgot about the movie. I think I must have missed it.
And, no, darn. I never tried the key lime pie. Rats, my book is missing. :D

Chris: I hope you will. It's easy! And so fresh.

Zoomie: Beautiful! Eek.

Anonymous: Thank you, thank you! That is brilliant. I will try it this afternoon and commit it to permanent memory!

Katie: Nice variations! It's time for me to creep gingerly out of my rut.

Kevin: That's spectacular. See what happens when I miss one day of blog trolling? Your dish looks like mine, with chicken. And a bunch of other tasty stuff. :-)

Dagny said...

I just mentioned the key lime pie because I know how it was served. The movie starred Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson.

KathyF said...

There's a similar recipe in Mollie Katzen's Still Life cookbook, only it includes mushrooms, artichokes, and roasted peppers along with cherry tomatoes and basil.

Then you let it all sit for a few hours, and serve with pasta. Haven't made it in a while, since there's really no need for little-to-no-cook recipes during our cool summers.

Interesting note about Carl. Reminds me of what Al Franken wrote in the autograph he signed for me.

Susan said...

We just had the same thing for dinner on Saturday but with rigatoni. 'Course I ate half the tomatoes before the pasta was even done.
"Chestal region"? Is that a Cookiecrumb original? :)

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: Yeah, I looked it up on IMDB. Still don't think I saw it...

KathyF: How very Mollie of her to outdo me. I love Mollie.
However!!! Should we beg you to reveal the autograph, or should we just let out imaginations work? Oh, Al Franken, you wanker.

Susan: I'm tittilated (ooh! chest joke) that you like my dish. And yes, I guess "chestal region" is original with me.... let Google sort it out.

Sean said...

Ah -- penne alla cruda. A classic Florentine dish. Which is to say, so delicious it has withstood the test of time.

cookiecrumb said...

Sean: Yee-hah! I didn't know it had a name. I was afraid it was just some inside-the-Beltway confabulation. Although I liked eating it.
Merci, amigo... or - grazie, mon amour.

C'tina said...

I make something similar, but for some reason, I blanche and peel the tomatoes. Throw in some prosciutto...or pepperoni!!

Katherine said...

I'm always looking for new and innovative recipes for my tomato sauce to go on my pizza bases. This worked so well.....no cooking whoopeee

Detox Lady said...

I am trying to change my eating patterns to what will hopefully be a mostly raw food diet and this recipe is a perfect one. It certainly proves that healthy doesn't have to be tasteless or boring!!

cookiecrumb said...

C'tina: Nice! Yer gettin' all fancy there.

Katherine: You put this on a pizza? Great suggestion.

DLady: Oh, it's easier and more delicious than you can imagine. Especially if you can find local produce. It just needs so little poking and prodding to be "food."