I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and although my dad was a very involved parent, my mom definitely did all of the cooking. And judging by most of my friends I think that is pretty much the norm for many men of my dads age…..and more than a few men today (yes I’m talking to you Mark).
So it never ceases to amaze me when I come upon a guy of my dad’s generation who can actually cook. My parent’s friend Bill is not only a brilliant chef but he is also a passionate lover of food, a great cooking teacher and an all round super guy. This is a man who will excitedly chat about his technique for “chiffonading” basil, is more than happy to share his homemade jam and relish and has been known to host a men’s only cooking class in his cottage kitchen for his biking buddies. Impressive!
This dish was inspired by a wonderful fresh tomato pasta sauce that Bill whipped up one night and generously shared with our family a few summers ago. It’s tasty, raw and vegetarian and is perfect for a casual night at home with the family or when you are entertaining a crowd. Trust me, kids and adults alike will gobble this up.
Here in southern Ontario, the first bright red tomatoes are just starting to ripen on the vines and the basil is already overflowing in my garden so it’s the perfect time to prepare this delicious dish. You can eat it with hot pasta right after it is cooked or mix it all together and pop it in the fridge to serve as a cold pasta salad.
Thanks to Billy Bob for inspiring me to make this sauce and for proving to me that there are some silver-haired gentlemen out there who really know their way around a kitchen!
Billy Bob’s Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce
*6 plum tomatoes, chopped
*2 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
*2 pints of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh basil, chopped or chiffonaded (roll the basil into a tight ball and slice into thin ribbons)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste if desired)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I leave this out when I make it for the kids)
1 package of dried pasta of choice
Vegan or regular parmesan cheese (to taste)
Chop tomatoes and place them into a large bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and let sit for 15 minutes to get nice and juicy. Stir in garlic, basil, oil and pepper flakes (if using) and additional salt to taste.
Cook pasta of choice according to package directions. I let the kids choose the last time I made this dish and as you can see I ended up with Wagon Wheels -a unique noodle that is often overlooked by the worlds great chefs ; )
Drain pasta and return to pot. Toss in tomato mixture and serve hot or cold with parmesan if desired.
*or any combination of seasonal tomatoes available