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Pasta Sauces You Don't Have to Cook

August 22, 1996|MARY CARROLL | Carroll is the author of the "No Cholesterol (No Kidding!) Cookbook" (Rodale Press)

When I can't stand the heat, I get out of the kitchen. On summer days when pasta is the thing to have for dinner, I make the simplest sauce I know: the no-cook variety.

Raw sauces, using fresh herbs, olive oil, bitter and sweet greens and the ripest tomatoes, heat as much as they need to when tossed with hot pasta. Their fresh and pungent flavor wakes up the palate during August's dog days.

Most no-cook sauces benefit from standing at room temperature for 30 minutes to 3 hours before using; stir them occasionally to allow the flavors to marry. Just like ripe tomatoes, no-cook tomato sauces will lose much of their flavor if refrigerated.

As you experiment with these basic recipes, you'll notice a difference in flavor with each sauce; individual ripeness and type of tomato add a unique twist every time I make one of these sauces. Adjust the seasonings to match the flavors you encounter, since fresh tomato toppings follow the old Sicilian saying, "He's always changing, just like a sauce."

TOMATO-LEMON SAUCE

A little lemon juice brings out the flavor in beefsteak tomatoes. This basic sauce can be dressed up with grated Parmesan cheese.

1 pound beefsteak tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

4 cups hot cooked pasta

Briefly puree tomatoes in food processor or blender. Transfer to bowl and stir in oil, lemon juice, vinegar, parsley, chives and basil. Allow to stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with hot cooked pasta.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

342 calories; 86 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 15 grams fat; 46 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams protein; 0.99 gram fiber.

ROASTED BELL PEPPER AND TOMATO PUREE

3/4 cup roasted red bell peppers, drained

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 pound tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon sugar or honey, optional

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

4 cups hot cooked pasta

Finely chop peppers and garlic in food processor or blender. Add tomatoes and pulse briefly into coarse puree. Add sugar and oil. Allow to stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with hot cooked pasta.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

244 calories; 86 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 46 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0.98 gram fiber.

TOMATO AND GREEN OLIVE SAUCE

This delicious recipe comes from food writer Jack Bishop. To keep the recipe low in fat, I've reduced the amount of olives.

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes

7 large green olives, pitted

1 shallot

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

4 cups hot cooked linguine

Core and coarsely chop tomatoes. Place in large bowl. Set aside.

Finely chop olives, shallot and thyme in food processor or blender. Scrape down sides. With motor running, slowly add oil and process until smooth.

Toss olive paste with tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with hot cooked pasta.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

299 calories; 148 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 48 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 1.38 grams fiber.

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