Saturday, September 7, 2013

(Road) Avocado: Let it bean!

I'm at my parents place for the weekend. As a vegan, this means I either eat "the sides", or I cook. So I made pancakes this morning, and I'll make dinner tonight--but last night my brother surprised me by making us all a super-simple and super-delicious red sauce and pasta for dinner.
He tells me it's a recipe from Jean-Christophe Novelli, an amazing celebrity chef who he may have a slight crush on. He makes it all the time and people like it so much he shares the recipe with them. It is one of those awesome recipe that is incredibly simple but also incredibly flavourful. And frankly, it's always a treat to not have to cook dinner and just be eating the same food everyone else is eating.
My brother says to make it with heirloom tomatoes, but he says he has made it in January with crappy winter tomatoes and it's also find. The vanilla bean is unexpected but it seems to add depth and round out the flavours.
You can Google the recipe, but basics are:
Slice as many tomatoes as will fit in a sauté pan in half, and seat a few minutes until soft. While they are searing, add salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of sugar. When tomatoes are soft, squish with a potato masher or back of a spoon to release the juices. Slice a vanilla bean in half, remove seeds and add seeds and the pod to the tomatoes. (When we were cooking last night, my brother's said at this point to add the vanilla and let it be. "Let it bean?" Eye roll.) Continue cooking over low heat to simmer. (The original recipe also calls for star anise but my brother doesn't like it.) Cook until thickened to a paste and add roughly chopped garlic, fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Cook for about ten more minutes to infuse flavours. If it's too sweet, add a touch of vinegar to balance it out. Serve with your favourite pasta.

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