I have complained many, many times about the fact that we live on the fifth floor of a walkup. In reality, it’s a love-hate relationship. On one hand, we’re closer to the top of the building for rooftop access, I get a great workout every time I come home, and I’ve always felt safer up here, since it takes so much work that I naturally assume burglars will leave us alone (knock on wood). On the other hand- well, we live on the fifth floor. Maybe that’s enough said. In the summertime, those five flights can feel like I’m scaling Everest. Between June and September, I’ll find myself coming home and collapsing in front of the air conditioner, panting like a fat Saint Bernard.
This is the time of year when a simple tomato sauce that requires no cooking feels like a lifesaver. No cooking, for reals! You grate the tomatoes. Even the Big Man, a staunch tomato hater, rips into this sauce. Lemon, salt, garlic and basil combined bring out the sweet acidity of the tomatoes, which, when paired with a good toothsome pasta, it basically the only thing I want to eat for days on end.
Since this sauce needs time to rest between being made and being scarfed down like the ravenous beast I am, once I make it I feel so energized and happy that I usually have enough sense to whip up pasta from scratch.
I love this sauce. I wait (im)patiently all year for July and August, when tomatoes are at their peak, just so I can make it as soon as it gets sweltering outside. Making this sauce at any other time of the year feels like cheating- tomatoes are out of season, and I’m not thrilled with the idea of eating tomatoes imported from Chile just so I can make a no-cook sauce on February. This is a summertime treat.
Let the sauce sit at least an hour or two before you eat it- the flavors need time to come together. Whether you make pasta from scratch or boil up boxed linguine, this is definitely a go-to summer meal. Last night I enjoyed it as only the best Friday night in the summer can be spent- standing barefoot in my kitchen in a tank top and cut off shorts, chatting with a friend and drinking a cold glass of chardonnay. Yes, please.
No Cook Tomato Sauce Recipe
- 2-3 large ripe tomatoes
- 2 large lemons, juiced
- 3-4 large large cloves garlic, crushed and minced (if you prefer, push them through a garlic press)
- ¼ cup chiffonaded basil (or minced as finely as you can)
- 1 tablespoon coarse ground sea salt, to taste
- Slice each tomato in half. Using a box grater over a bowl, grate the tomatoes down to the skin. Discard the skin as you go. Add the lemon juice, garlic, basil and salt and combine. Let the mixture sit for at least one hour, two is best, before using.