This was an exercise in maximizing the concept of fresh, seasonal and local cooking… even though the dish initially looks more Italian, but this is Puerto Rican cooking at its utmost expression. Why?
Because the main components of this meal were grown or produced right here in Puerto Rico:
- The pasta is freshly made here in San Juan by my friend Karla from nudi pasta…
- The tomatoes and basil for the sauce came from my CSA box… as did the mesclun greens and the cucumber for the salad
- The green peppers in the sofrito came from the CSA box too and the “ají dulces” came from my aunt’s backyard
I have made marinated/un-cooked tomato sauce before, but I just wanted to see if I could pull-off a sauce that did not need to be on the stove for hours to achieve a deep flavor. I believe we have reached success here. Also, fresh fettuccini is super delicate… I am not used to cooking pasta so little. So a friend gave me the idea to cook the pasta in the same sauce, instead of boiling it first. It actually turned out really nice… even though I feel I have not yet mastered the art of cooking fresh pasta to perfection.
FRESH FETTUCCINI WITH BARELY-COOKED FRESH TOMATO SAUCE
3 small organic tomatoes, chopped 2 sprigs of fresh basil, leaves and stems separated 1 tsp sofrito 1 tsp tomato paste Salt and Pepper to taste 1 tbs balsamic vinegar 1 tbs olive oil ½ package of whole-wheat fresh fettuccini
- In a medium skillet with tall sides over medium heat, pour the olive oil and the sofrito. Cook for a few minutes while you chop the tomatoes.
- Add the basil sprigs and leaves. Cook for a minute and add the tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add the chopped tomatoes with all its juice… make sure you have all the seeds and juice to make the sauce liquidy.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the balsamic vinegar. Cook for about 5 minutes so the flavors combine.
- Add the fresh fettuccini to the sauce and toss to combine well. After a few minutes, turn the stove off and cover to allow the pasta to cook with the steam and heat of the sauce.
Enjoy with a nice tossed salad using any seasonal vegetables you might have on hand. I used mesclun greens and cucumbers with a light lemon vinaigrette.