Thursday, July 02, 2009

Summer Shabbats

Like most people without central air conditioning, I hesitate turning on the oven in the summer. A cool evening will inspire me to bake lots of cookies and get them in the freezer, but regular shabbat meal planning revolves around the barbecue and lots of salads. While making salads frequently requires boiling some water (for the pasta, potatoes or rice), the stove and boiling water don't produce enough heat to bother me.

Unless company is coming, I prefer barbecuing several kinds of meat, making four or five salads, and serving both Friday night dinner and shabbat lunch as buffets, letting everyone pick at their favorites.

One of my favorite summer dishes is Fettuccine with Raw Tomato Basil Sauce. It's wonderful served fresh, with bright green strands of basil, and tomatoes that still have a bit of bite to them, and less elegant looking, but even yummier the next day when the fettuccine has had a chance to really absorb all the flavors.

Fettuccine with Raw Tomato Basil Sauce

1 pound fettuccine
1 bunch basil
6 ripe tomatoes (not overly ripe)
2 cloves garlic, crushed or microplaned (see 6/9/09 post) (more or less to taste)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

Cook fettuccine according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, rinse basil very well, pat dry, stack the leaves and slice into very thin strips (referred to as chiffonade )
Dice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch pieces, making sure to reserve all the juices. The best way to do this is to put your cutting board inside a baking pan. Put tomatoes, basil and garlic in a large bowl. Add oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper (if using). Pour hot drained pasta over tomato mixture and gently toss together. Allow to cool to room temperature.

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