Fri 16 Jul 2010
Last night we made one of our favorite warm — make that brutally hot — weather dishes, the pasta with cold tomato sauce from a book we have been using for years, Sally Schneider’s The Art of Low-Calorie Cooking (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1990, large-format paperback edition, 1993). Our well-used copy of the book is thoroughly stained and grimy, surely a testimony to our affection.
Nothing could be simpler. While the pasta is cooking — last night it was
fuselli farfalle (see response in comments below) — you strip the skin from fresh tomatoes by holding them over a flame for 30 seconds (Schneider’s method) or just hold them, one by one, in a slotted spoon in the boiling water for a few seconds (LL’s technique) and slip that skin off. Squeeze some of the juice out and then chop the tomatoes and put them in a bowl. Add chopped fresh basil and two tablespoons of a mixture of fresh chopped herbs such as thyme, oregano and tarragon, our choice last night, some minced shallots, salt, pepper and splashes of balsamic vinegar and olive oil and mix together. When the pasta is ready, drain it, divide it among the bowls and spoon on the sauce. Schneider doesn’t call for cheese, but we usually add some shaved salada ricotta and maybe a little grated Parmesan and Pecorino. The hot pasta gently warms the sauce. That’s it, and it’s incredibly refreshing and delicious!
I opened a bottle of the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2009, from an exceptional vintage for that region, as indeed it is for much of France. Beaujolais-Villages is a designation and geographical area that lies between the more generic Beaujolais appellation, in the lowlands to the south, and the upland cru Beaujolais further north, where 10 villages or communes (the crus) are entitled to have their names alone on labels. All wines from Beaujolais, whatever the category, are made from 100 percent gamay grapes.
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2009 is rapturously pure and intense. The color is dark bluish ruby-purple with a black cherry-magenta rim. Penetrating aromas of spiced and macerated black cherries, mulberries and currants are touched with briers and brambles and a hint of shale. The segue to black cherry and currant flavors is seamless, and after a few minutes in the glass, the wine expands with elements of dusty leather, damp shale, violets and potpourri while vibrant acidity keeps the wine lively and attractive. In terms of structure and personality, this is clearly the best Beaujolais-Villages I have tasted from Georges Duboeuf. Now through 2011. Very Good+. About $10 to $12, a Raving Bargain.
Imported by W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Harrison, N.Y. A sample for review. Despite the date on the bottle in the image, the wine under review is the 2009. Why can’t companies keep their websites up-to-date? It’s so freaking annoying!