Pasta for Two

B and I rarely cook Italian and we have a very good reason - he loathes tomatoes and I despise cheese.

On pizza night we make individual pizzas.  Mine has extra sauce, but no cheese and his has extra cheese and no sauce.  Actually, we usually avoid the whole tomato sauce with pizza thing by making our absolute favorite Thai Chicken Pizza (a copy cat of California Pizza Kitchen's version).  I'll have to get my act together and put together that post sometime in the future because it is SO GOOD.  When it comes to pasta, we typically make a garlic butter sauce to avoid the cheese/tomato issue altogether.  It's just too much effort to create two different sauces, the leftovers of which inevitably get forgotten and thrown out weeks later.

B really likes to grow things, and with the hot climate here in the UAE, you can plant some seeds one day, and you have a plant the next day.  While I was away he went a little crazy and planted all the things in the area beside our apartment, which we have sort of claimed for ourselves.  When I came back from Japan I found a balcony covered with fresh basil plants as well as a counter covered with bright red tomatoes. (I know, it makes no sense…he won't touch the things yet he will happily grow them.)

The fresh basil is wonderful to have around, but there is just so much of it, and with temperatures rising above 40C on a daily basis now, it's just too hot to keep some things alive.  The tomatoes were a different story.  I love a good tomato.  I love to slice them and sprinkle with salt and pepper, make BLTs, or just a plain old tomato sandwich.  But these tomatoes just weren't good.  They were mealy and had very little flavor at all (you know, like the gross tomatoes they have at Subway?)  I decided it would be a shame to waste all those tomatoes, and I wasn't about to just let that good basil fry to a crisp in the desert sun!  So, I decided to try my hand at fresh tomato sauce and pesto.

The pesto was easy.  After picking the leaves and washing them, I threw them in the food processor with a handful of pine nuts, a couple cloves of garlic and some extra virgin olive oil.  I blended all that into a nice paste, added some salt and tah-dah!  Pesto!  I'm sure any of the Master Chef judges would claim it was too garlicy, but B and I both liked it.

The tomato sauce wasn't difficult to make, just a bit more tedious and time consuming…peeling and de-seeding tomatoes, chopping the other vegetables and cooking it all down.  I followed this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  Mine doesn't look as pretty as her's (it's much more of an orangey-red) but it really does taste good!

So there you have it, his and hers pasta sauces for the picky eaters that we are!

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