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While most people think of slow-cooked, long-simmered sauces when they hear "spaghetti and tomato," I think of summer and simplicity, of taking unbelievable good tomatoes, chopping them up with basil, garlic and olive oil, and tossing them with hot pasta. In other words, doing almost no cooking at all (a bit like a pasta version of bruschetta).
That's also the idea with this Alice Waters recipe, but she adds a little more panache to the proceedings with a vinegar-garlic paste in a mortar and pestle that adds a garlicky, tart base to deepen the flavor and accentuate the tomatoes.
Why I Picked This Recipe: Waters consistently find ways to improve uncomplicated recipes without losing their spirit of simplicity; here the garlic-vinegar mixture plays the role of acid in this tomato "vinaigrette" and helps complement the same acidity in the tomatoes--part of what makes them taste so excellent.
What Worked: The speed, simplicity, and flavors. As she often does, Waters uses simple technique to great effect.
What Didn't: I couldn't find farro pasta which was originally called for in the recipe, but I followed this Serious Eats Talk thread and wound up with some excellent whole wheat linguine from Whole Foods.
Suggested Tweaks: The addition of chunks of fresh mozzarella to this pasta would take it to the next level. I would also happily have doubled the amount of ingredients for the tomato vinaigrette in this recipe, and will probably next time: that, or use half the pasta.
Adapted from Wall Street Journal.
About the author: Blake Royer has been writing for Serious Eats since 2007. He is the Creative Director at Jamco Creative in Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter: @blakeroyer.