San Marzano Harvest

It's been two months and I just picked my first batch of fresh San Marzano tomatoes. They are very similar to Roma tomatoes, but originating from San Marzano in Southern Italy. San Marzanos have fewer seeds, the flesh is meatier and the taste is a bit sweeter. This variety is gaining in popularity stateside and are more readily available at local markets.

By the way it's National Farmers Market Week.

To further awareness of farmers markets and of the many important contributions farmers make to daily life in America, I, Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, proclaims the week of August 5-11, 2012, as National Farmers Market Week; encouraging the people of the United States to celebrate the benefits of farmers markets and the bountiful production of our Nation's farmers with appropriate observances and activities.

These gorgeous heirloom plum tomatoes are ideal for a fresh quick sauce, gazpacho or bruschetta. If you don't have access to this variety fresh picked, I also use San Marzano brand canned for sauces. But, only use fresh for bruschetta.

George's Quick Spicy Tomato Sauce

Makes 4 cups |

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup chopped pancetta

10 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1/2 chopped onion, chopped fine

1/4 cup prosciutto, chopped fine

2 cups canned plum San Marzano tomatoes, crushed

1/4 cup dry white wine

2-4 teaspoons hot pepper flakes

10-12 fresh basil leaves, lightly torn

Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a saucepan and heat the olive oil.  Add the pancetta and cook until it becomes light brown.  Add the garlic, onion and prosciutto and cook 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, white wine, hot pepper flakes, basil and black pepper, stir well and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  You can regulate the spiciness of the dish by adding more or less hot pepper flakes.

Suggested Pasta: 1 pound Bucatini

Heat a large pot of water and cook the Bucatini according to package directions.  Make sure to drain the pasta very carefully, shaking the colander to discard any water remaining inside the Bucatini.

Return the pasta to the cooking pot, add the sauce, mix well and serve in deep bowl.  Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.