Summer pasta dishes should require no more heat than is necessary to boil the pasta. My favorite shortcut for no-cook pasta sauce is, quite literally, right at your fingertips. Grating tomatoes gives me fresh, sweet tomato pulp, no blanching, peeling, or even chopping required!
How to Grate Tomatoes Safely
Grating tomatoes isn't hard, but you need to be careful so that you don't cut yourself on the box grater. See those fingers there in the photo below, stretched out flat and parallel to the surface of the box grater? Those belong to my husband, who had never grated a tomato before I foisted these beautiful, garden-fresh San Marzano specimens upon him.
"Just hold your hand flat like this," I demonstrated, and in seconds, halved tomatoes were transformed into the beginnings of tomato sauce. Keeping your fingers stretched out flat like this ensures that you won't end up grating yourself.
Resist the urge to curl your fingers around the fruit. When you start to feel the bumpy surface of the grater underneath the tomato skin, you'll know that you have grated most of the fruit into the bowl. Slow down and ease up on the grating pressure, gently moving your fingers up and down the tomato skin until you have grated off most of the pulp.
How to Use the Tomato Pulp
Once you have a bowl of grated tomatoes, you're most of the way to a lovely, raw pasta sauce. Just add some finely minced garlic and basil leaves, toss the mixture with hot pasta, and serve. Tomato pulp also makes a great crostini topping!
(Image credits: Coco Morante)