It’s tomato season where I live! This year, after hurricanes, freezes, and 2 snowings (most unusual for us), the tomato crop is more plentiful than ever. As a result, I’m inspired to create new tomato sauces. This one is light and aromatic using fennel and mild herbs. No need to peel or core the tomatoes, just chop them up. The addition of white wine helps to meld the flavors as the alcohol cooks away. This sauce also cooks in the time it takes to make the pasta, which is perfect.
The tomatoes are truly the star here, so freshness is important. I have also used a good quality pasta made with ancient wheat from Italy as the sauce is light and the taste of the pasta is important. Several artisanal varieties using heritage American wheats are also available online. Or, just use your favorite dried pasta.
This dish is rich in vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, folate, niacin, potassium, manganese, several other nutrients, minerals and fiber. The pasta also contains some protein. You can add a little cheese if you like, for calcium.
RECIPE: Pasta with Light Tomato Sauce (white wine, fennel, marjoram, thyme)
- 1-1/2 lb tomatoes, chopped (I used San Marzano, but plum or Roma would be fine)
- 1 cup finely chopped fennel
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- A few sprigs each, marjoram and thyme
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 250 grams (dry weight) noodles, just undercooked as they will finish cooking in the sauce (I used tortiglioni here, but penne with ridges would be perfect)
- Cook the pasta according to the directions in salted water while you prepare the sauce.
- Heat oil in pan with the pepper flakes.
- Add the fennel and sauté for about 3 minutes to soften.
- Add the tomatoes, wine, salt, marjoram and thyme. Simmer gently for 8-10 minutes.
- Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce and toss.
- Add the parsley and basil and toss again.
- Serve immeidately
Serves 4 (or 2 with generous portions)