I need a nap.  No, seriously, I need a nap.  It’s 3:30 on Saturday afternoon and that is usually my nap time.  Instead, I’m laying on the couch writing this post because I feel so bad that it has, once again, been a few days since I’ve graced you guys with my awesomeness.  (Sorry, I went a little overboard, I can’t help it)

We’ve been running all around the surrounding areas of Indianapolis today.  We started 8:30 this morning in Zionsville for their farmer’s market (which I can’t wait to make dinner with the ingredients I got there and even more, I can’t wait to share it with you!), then the wine store, then ran to my work to show everyone the puppy (Cash went with us this morning, he was quite a hit), then to my parents to ride on their new Vespa scooter, then home, then lunch, Petco, Party City and then finally, the grocery store for some milk and cream for dinner.  What!?  It’s ridiculous how much we end up doing with our free days.  Running errands takes so much time.  But it’s been a fun day so far and it’s going to get so much better with what I’m making for dinner.

Speaking of dinner…

Last week I made this incredibly, wonderfully, delicious pasta and tomato sauce.  I’ve made it about 3 times before and every time I eat it, I fall more in love with it.

Now, I’ve never been out of the country.  Oh wait, yes I have, I’ve been to Mexico… but I’ve never been to Europe.  I so desperately want to go to France and Italy one day and it’s because of the food.  I can guarantee when we go, I’ll probably gain a good 10 pounds because all I will do is eat.  Anyway… the point of me saying all of this is that this pasta is what I would imagine you would find in France or Italy.

It’s so simple, has so few ingredients but tastes so fresh and is so unbearably good.  It’s not your jarred tomato sauce or sauce that you make with canned tomatoes… Nope.  This is FRESH tomato sauce.  With whole tomatoes (from our farmstand-style market), garlic, basil and olive oil (and a pad or two of butter, just for good measure).  I think you should be warned that this dish has serious potential to blow your mind.

I’m not kidding.

(I have the prettiest pans ever ^)

While it’s not the quickest meal to make, if you set aside the time to make it, you will forever thank yourself.  There’s nothing technical about it, but I will tell you… there’s a lot of dish washing.  Blah.  But again, it’s worth it.  Just trust me.  If you have never had fresh tomato sauce (which I’ll admit, I hadn’t before finding this recipe.  I usually used canned tomatoes) this is a serious must-make recipe.  I couldn’t believe that I had been missing out for long.

Don’t even bother sending me Thank You notes.  You’ll be too busy scarfing this pasta down.  I understand, don’t worry.

Naked Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen with pretty much no changes at all. 

3 pounds of Roma or plum tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Small handful of basil leaves (I used about 6), some left whole, some sliced for garnish
1/4 cup olive oil
12 ounces of pasta (I recommend NOT using whole wheat pasta.  It just doesn’t work well with this.  You need the real, good stuff)
1 or 2 tablespoons of butter (please, whatever you do, don’t skip this part)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cut an “X” at the bottom of each tomato.  Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for 10-30 seconds (I definitely had to go on the longer side).  When the skin starts to peel away at the X, spoon them out and either rinse under cold water or shock them in ice water.  Peel the skins away and discard.  You can use the leftover water to cook the pasta in, however, mine had a lot of tomato bits in it so I dumped it.

Cut each tomato in half and spoon out all the seeds and put in a strainer over a bowl.  Discard the seeds, keep the juices though.

Add tomatoes and salt to a large saucepan over medium heat.  Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher, or by hand to get the preferred consistency of the sauce.  You can always mash more later.

Bring the sauce to a boil, once that happens bring the temp back done and let it simmer for a good 35-45 minutes.  If the sauce looks a little dry, add some of the reserved tomato juices.

In the meantime, in a small sauce pan over the lowest possible heat, pour in the olive oil, garlic and basil leaves.  Heat until it all comes to a simmer.  Remove the basil leaves and the garlic and set aside.

Once the tomato sauce has been simmering for a good 25 minutes, start cooking your pasta to the packages directions.  Once it’s cooked, drain the pasta, but save about 1/2 cup of the pasta water in case you need it later.

Once the sauce has been simmering for 35-45 minutes and is the consistency you would like, stir in the olive oil and pasta.  Let that simmer for just a couple minutes, adding the pasta water if you feel necessary.  At the last minute add the butter and give it one last stir.  Serve immediately with the sliced basil for garnish (I skipped this).  This tastes just as good the next day for lunch too!

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