Saturday, August 27, 2011
Tagliatelle with August sauce
What is August sauce? Well, I had all those tomatoes, and the leftovers of a plump bunch of purslane (the rest went into purslane curry). And I wanted something fast that didn't cook too long, because the pre-hurricane atmosphere is warm and soggy and needs no encouragement from blazing stove.
From my collection, I chose the big Green Cherokee tomato, which weighed in at just under a pound. It was very juicy, quietly sweet, and low on acidity. And green. Very green. A long, flat pasta is good for this - small and rounded and shellish and the bits of tomato and purslane would get lost inside and hide out in clumps. With ribbon pasta the sauce just slides along each strand.
I don't often cook with butter but in this case it adds a velvety background for the fruitiness of the very ripe tomato. And a hurricane is coming. I mean, you gotta live. The sauce is in two parts...
1/3 cup cream
2 Tbsp butter
Half a lemon's zest
Half a lemon's juice
Salt and pepper
In a small saucepan scald the cream and cook it at a simmer for about 4 minutes. It will reduce slightly. Add the butter and let it melt, while stirring. Off the heat, grate in the lemon zest, and squeeze in the lemon juice. Another stir. Season this with salt and pepper. Taste. Set aside.
Meanwhile get your pasta water boiling. Submerge your tagliatelle.
Tomato and Purslane Sauce:
1 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups chopped up, non-acidic tomato such as Brandywine, or another similar heirloom
1/2 cup loosely packed purslane leaves (and seed capsules if late in the season)
1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated
In a second small saucepan, melt the butter and add the tomato when it is foamy. Cook over medium heat until the fruit exudes its juice, stirring to prevent sticking. Add the purslane, stir, season with salt and pepper. After a minute or two turn off the heat. This is a barely-cooked sauce.
Drain the just-cooked pasta, return to its still-hot pot. Pour over the cream sauce, toss, and add the tomato and purslane sauce. As you toss, gradually add the 1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan.
Serve at once, in warmed bowls.