Tomato and Apple Pasta Sauce

When I first encountered the idea of pairing apples and tomatoes, I must admit that I couldn’t wrap my head or taste buds around the idea. I just couldn’t imagine them together. But one day when I had a late season tomato sauce simmering on the stove, I noticed some apples that had been hanging around on the counter too long. The sauce tasted a bit acidic since the tomatoes were not as rosy and ripe as those picked earlier in the summer. So in hopes of sweetening things up a bit, I grated the apples and threw them in. Not bad. The flavors actually blended nicely, and the sweetness of the apples took the edge off the tomatoes. Since then I have been known to toss chopped, grated and sliced apples into all sorts of recipes that don’t call for them with good results. Perhaps apples are the most versitile thing we grow.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs olive oil

  • 2 large leeks, cleaned and chopped

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 6 large tomatoes (enough to equal 3 cups when pureed)

  • 1 tsp. salt 1

  • lb. sweet, tender apples, peeled and cored

  • 1 lb. capellini or your favorite pasta

  • Parmesan cheese for grating

Directions:

Steam or roast the tomatoes till soft, then puree in a food processor or blender.

Put the olive oil in a pan, set it over medium heat, and add the chopped onion and leeks.  Cook, stirring often, until the onions and leeks are caramelized, about 15 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, add salt, and heat to a simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.

Coarsely grate the peeled and cored apples, and add to the tomato sauce after it has simmered for 5 minutes.  Simmer the sauce, uncovered, until it has reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes.  At this time the grated apple should be tender.

Cook the pasta until it is al dente.  Drain, and add to the warm tomato-apple sauce.  Toss gently until all the pasta is coated.  Spoon into bowls, and serve.  Add grated cheese to taste.