Okay THIS is how we summer. And I need you to hark it.
We all have those fresh tomato sauces we run to during the summer months. And by run I mean a full-on-foaming-at-the-mouth sprint. There’s nothing better! Nothing in the whole entire world. (besides taking a colossally plump farmer’s market tomato, slicing it and topping it with a good flaky finishing salt. THAT is stupid good.) But a quick, fresh, vibrant tomato sauce using only four ingredients? It shan’t be beat.
But then we add gnocchi and it’s over. Completely over. But I’ll show you that in a nano.
Did you know my favorite scent of all time is a tomato vine? When you take your fingers and rub a tomato leaf between them and then stick that leaf and/or your fingers up in your nose cavern, that is nothing short of supreme. It reminds me of childhood. Of my Memaw and Papaw’s south Arkansas backyard garden with two long rows of caged (or was it twined?) tomato plants. As a kid, I’d run through the spindly canopy of vines and absolutely DIE of how perfect it all smelled. Like really, go outside right now and rub a tomato leaf up in your face. Do it.
See? Summer is saved.
I have a divine recipe for you today, but it starts with either a farmer’s market or a roadside tomato stand or robbing your neighbor’s garden. Your pick. Go get a couple of pounds of ripe tomatoes. These are honkers, and I’m not even sure what their technical name is, but it doesn’t even matter because LOOK AT HOW GORGEOUS THEY ARE.
The tomatoes aren’t bad, either. (ba-domp?)
Oh, DeLallo. How I heart thee. You guys, they have this boxed, dried potato gnocchi and it is honestly SO good. The shape is perfect. It’s light and pillowy once cooked, and it takes less than anything to whip up. It’s the most ideal summer recipe because we’re mixing fresh and comfort. You know that’s basically my life mantra. Fresh meets comfort meets straw visors meets high-waisted pants. I knew we understood each other.
Okay I’ll show you how this goes.
Give the ‘maters a rough dice. Nothing too aggressive. Get them in a large food processor and bleeeeeend until they’re completely smooth. Not a trace of a dice left. We’re talking, tomato juice here.
Like that. ^^ When a summer tomato is as ripe as what we’re dealing with, there’s very little we need to do with it. Except garlic. Let’s never forget zee garlic.
Oh! The olive oil we’re using? Well of course it’s DeLallo’s extra-virgin olive oil. Magnificent flavor, and works exquisitely in a fresh Italian dish like this. You have to try their olive oil if you haven’t yet!
So right, get that garlic bloomed and fragrant.
The we add the pureed tomatoes! It might seem like a lot of oil (4 Tbs?!), but trust me. Once the tomatoes have a chance to marry the oil and the garlic and the fresh basil, it’s just so incredible you may punch a kitten.
It’s not simmering for long, either. Just ten minutes. We want that pungent, summertime, acidic bite of the fresh tomatoes, so this is a simple, quick ordeal. You’ll love it.
And now – listen to this. We’re not even boiling the gnocchi in water. We’re not! We’re adding it straight to the sauce to simmer and plump and get tender and perfect, in just five minutes. That is ALL it needs. Add it, stir it, let it simmer on low, stir it again, poke it to see how soft it’s getting. And you’re finished.
I’m sorry, are you even seeing that? The gnocchi has that unmistakable nearly-nutty flavor. It’s like little clouds of carb in a delicious swimming pool of garden. You CANNOT beat this. Also why would you want to?
And if you need to drizzle more oil on top, scatter a few more basil leaves over the whole mess and sprinkle fresh parmesan to finish – well clearly you know how to live.
Unbelievably simple, undeniably fresh, dripping with summer essence, it’s just perfection to me. The vibrant flavor of the tomatoes with the garlic, basil and oil – it’s a marriage like nothing else. Hit the market, load up on tomatoes and make.this.happen.
Don’t forget your visor.
Summer in ya face!
Pronto. Yes, this begging.