Pasta con Salsa Cruda features just-cooked spaghetti tossed with uncooked fresh tomatoes, onion, peppers, olives, capers with fresh herbs.
A Salsa Cruda, in Italian cuisine, is a ‘Raw Sauce’ which may be used as a Bruschetta topping, but is generally used as a sauce for pasta. The basic version is usually a blend of chopped tomatoes in olive oil with garlic and basil, but you can, of course, jazz it up with whatever herbs or raw vegetables you like. Here, I am including onion, peppers, olives, capers, and nice blend of sage, thyme and rosemary with black pepper.
The quantities given in this are essentially for two moderate sized pasta-course portions. I have used spaghetti as the pasta, but almost any kind could be used, although I would recommend long thin varieties for this sort of sauce.
The herb blend given below just happened to be what felt right for me on the day I made the dish you see pictured above but there is lots of scope for change depending on your own preferences. Many people, for instance might wish to decrease the amount of sage, for instance, and add in other herbs like parsley, chives, or Chervil. Experiment to see what suits you best.
The Basic Method
I am using one third of a cup of each of onion and yellow and green bell pepper for this salsa (you could use red peppers as well, if you like), and here you can see them already cut in small dice. The next part is optional, but I blended these with a quarter teaspoon of salt and let them macerate for about twenty minutes along with two minced cloves of garlic. This helps maintain a more uniform consistency with the other ingredients but it is, as I say, optional, and you can opt for a steeper texture gradient if you prefer.
For the complete salsa, I added one cup of chopped fresh tomato, one third of a cup of thinly sliced black olive, and a tablespoon of capers. For seasoning, I used a quarter teaspoon of black pepper, and some finely chopped fresh herbs. Use whatever suits your fancy, but here I chose a bare tablespoon of chopped sage, along with half a teaspoon each of chopped thyme and rosemary. I am also using basil in this recipe, but not until later, as you will see.
Finally, I added a third of a cup of good quality extra-virgin olive oil and let everything sit and marinate. You really only need to do this for about 30 to 60 minutes, or so, but you can let it go for longer. I have, in the past, allowed the flavors to blend overnight but I find that if you do this, you lose some of the brighter flavors of the fresh ingredients.
By the way, I mentioned at the outset that a Salsa Cruda can also be used as a topping for Bruschetta. Indeed, you may wish to use the recipe here in place of Ratatouille in my Ratatouille Bruschetta.
Once cooked, drain your pasta and then quickly saute it in a pot with a little butter before adding in a small bunch of shredded fresh basil. If you are allowing your salsa to sit for no more than 30 minutes or so, you could add the basil to the mix, but if letting it marinate for longer, you may prefer to do as I have done here so as to avoid the basil turning too dark and possibly getting a little bitter.
Finally, once the pasta is sautéed, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the salsa. Allow it to sit for a moment and then serve with grated cheese… That’s it!
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Pasta con Salsa Cruda
- 2 portions of Spaghetti or other Pasta
- 1/3 Cup diced Onion
- 1/3 Cup each diced Green and Yellow Bell Pepper
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 1 Cup chopped fresh Tomato
- 1/3 Cup sliced Black Olive
- 1 Tbsp. Capers
- ½ tsp. Freshly ground Black Pepper
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh Sage
- 1 tsp. each fresh Thyme and Rosemary chopped
- 1/3 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. Butter
- 1 small bunch Fresh Basil
- Toss the diced onion, peppers and garlic together with the salt and allow to macerate in a bowl for about 20 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, olives, and capers to the bowl along with the ground Pepper and fresh herbs, the toss with the Olive Oil and allow to marinate for 30 – 60 minutes.
- When ready, cook the pasta until almost al dente, and, just before it reaches this point, slice the Basil leaves into a fine-shreds.
- Drain the pasta and add back to the pot with the butter, followed by the Basil, and toss well over medium heat for a half-minute or so.
- Remove the pan from the heat, add the marinated fresh ingredients, and toss well.
- Allow to sit for a minute or two then serve with grated cheese.