Thankfully, we've learned to salvage tomatoes from late summer and give them eternal life in cans. And while they'd be of no use in a caprese, they have every right to be in sauce all year long.
Even with asparagus! Its grassy pop is surprisingly at home in a bed of sweet-sour tomato sauce, mellowed with a last-minute addition of beaten eggs, à la carbonara.
Oh, you haven't done that either? Beaten raw eggs into your tomato asparagus sauce? Well, it's about time. (Claiborne was doing it in 1979 -- we're behind!) A little egg pulls the sauce together, glossing it up without muffling it like heavy cream would do.
Maybe the most genius part: As Food52er monkeymom pointed out when she sent me this recipe, this is essentially a highly adaptable pantry pasta supper, with addition of fresh asparagus (which is sort of a staple this time of year anyway).
But by rearranging your pantry staples just so, dinner turns out elegant and new. So go on: break free of the season. Clash a little.
1 1/2 pound fresh asparagus 3 tablespoons butter Salt and freshly ground pepper 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 2 cloves garlic 2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, put through a sieve or grated coarsely 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil 3/4 pounds penne, rigatoni, or other tubular pasta 2 eggs, plus one yolk, beaten well with a fork 1/2 cup grated parmesan
Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].
Photos by James Ransom
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I'm an ex-economist, ex-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."