Mother nature is surely a tease. Just as we thought we were turning the page on a season one last snippet of warmth lingers about. Indian summer is that stretch of seemingly balmy days after a frost; a taunt that perhaps summer has not completely surrendered to autumn. And, alas, here in the northeast there has been a few evening frosts that has crystallized on many a leaf. For those of us vertically stacked in an urban landscape we tend to forget that just an arm’s stretch from the city the chill sets quicker and deeper. If the farmer can they blanket their fields with lightweight burlap to insulate those delicate plants of true summer that we just have a hard time letting go of. I have stubbornly bought tomatoes over the last couple of weeks knowing they are past their peak but tenacious enough to survive. Regardless, they are less insulting than those mealy imposters sitting in the supermarket. So, my meals are sprinkled with summer and autumn at the moment -- not fully committed to either.
Spaghetti Rustica – yields 6
1-cup olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves- sliced very thin
1 pound beefsteak tomatoes - seeds removed and chopped
1/8 cup fresh oregano leaves - roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves - torn
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves - roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound Spaghetti
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
In a sauté pan heat the oil over a low flame with the red pepper flakes and garlic for about 10 minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic burn, or color too much. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
Cook off the pasta in plenty of boiling water, and drain. With water still clinging to the pasta add into the oil mixture along with herbs, salt and pepper. Toss all the ingredients together to thoroughly combine and serve immediately.
Garnish with the parmesan cheese.