Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Spaghetti con Salsa di Fragole, Pomodoro

Spaghetti con Salsa di Fragole, Pomodoro
Spaghetti With Strawberry-Tomate

No one can say for certain but it now appears likely that all Italy owes it’s gastronomic identity to a group of so called new world Indios known as the Aztec; it seems the humble tomato, like its earth sleeping cousin the potato, are but two of the edible gifts the “old world” received from the Americas.

The Nahuatl (Aztec language) word tomatl gave rise to the Spanish word "tomate," from which, according to Wiki, the English word tomato originates.

The arrival of tomatoes in Italy dates to 1548 when the steward of Cosimo de' Medici, the grand duke of Tuscany, wrote to the Medici private secretary informing him that the basket of tomatoes sent from the grand duke's Florentine estate at Torre del Gallo "had arrived safely.”

Hitherto tomate, a member of the poisonous nightshade family were appreciated only for their decorative attributes: shiny, red and luxuriant garden ornaments for the holiday table.

It was not until the 18th century that the tomato was added to the book of condiments as fruit or in the Italian lexicon, “pomo d'oro “ or “apple of gold," indeed the fruit of the tomato vine is classified as just that, fruit, not vegetable and so it is, with this admittedly heuristic leap of faith we gently present:

                                                      photo GCB Press, all rights reserved

A Romantic Vegan Valentine Dinner for Two

Considering that the tomato is a fruit, the addition of strawberries isn’t that strange in this sauce. The sauce should be quite spicy, which tempers the berries’ sweetness.


  2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch Kosher salt
1/2 pound fresh (or frozen, thawed) strawberries, hulled, quartered
1 teaspoon agave 
12 oz. spaghetti [full bodied pasta works better than the thinner strands]
  1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh vegan ricotta* — follows
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
     Spring onion sliced


Heat olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and red pepper flakes, season with salt, and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until tomato juices have reduced slightly, about 3 minutes. 

     Add strawberries and agave, cook, stirring often, until strawberries are soft and sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then pulse in a food processor to a coarse purée.
     Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling, salted water, stirring occasionally until al dente; drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
     Add pasta to tomato sauce along with ½ cup pasta cooking liquid and cook, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes.
     Remove from heat, drizzle with more oil, and toss to combine. Serve pasta topped with onion, ricotta, and black pepper.

      SERVINGS: 2

Vegan Ricotta*

       •      2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, then drained
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup plain soy milk
1/2 tbsp agave
1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper & salt to taste

1 Add soaked cashews, garlic, lemon juice, soy milk, agave, oil, to      your food processor.
2 Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. If your ricotta is too dry, add more soy milk.
3 Season with salt & pepper, to taste 

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