Tomato Sauce In The Raw

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Tomato Sauce in the Raw!

I got this recipe from Sony Bono many many years ago when he had a restaurant on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles called, “BONO”.

I use to love going there on a Friday night after a hectic week. He always greeted you with a great big mustached grin and made you feel right at home. I loved his eclectic menu of his favorite Italian recipes. They were mostly old school which I loved because it reminded me of growing up.

I watched him worked the room and he was genuinely interested in all the patrons that came to dine. He made every single person feel special. I couldn’t wait for him to come and sit down at our booth as he always did to discuss the menu and would order so many dishes for me to taste even after we already ordered our dinner. He would order great wine and would regal us with great stories especially about Hollywood and his early career.

We also had serious discussion about meatballs, lasagna and pasta sauces. (lol) He asked me try a sauce that wasn’t cooked.  He called it Piccio Paccio. I have no idea what that means.

It was served with penne pasta and I have to say it became my very favorite pasta dish to order when I dined there. I asked him to please share the recipe with me and he did. I have been serving it for years!

I highly suggest you make this recipe when tomatoes are at their height of flavor in the summer. They are so sweet and taste like tomatoes should taste. Every bite is a burst a flavor not only from the tomatoes but also from the fresh ingredients used to make this special sauce.


Tomatoes in the Raw

photo’s Diane Cu & Todd


3 pounds baby organic Roma tomatoes, red and yellow, sliced lengthwise or cherry tomatoes sliced in half.

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup Reggiano Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated

½ cup Romano Cheese, freshly grated

1 cup loosely packed Italian (flat leaf) parsley chopped coarsely

12 fresh basil leaves stack on top of one another, rolled tightly into a cigarette and sliced thinly into ribbons

1/4 cup fresh mint loosely packed chopped coarsely

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed open

photo’s Cristina Ferrare

1-pound Semolina pasta, penne or farfalle (butterfly shaped) works the best


Place  the first nine ingredients into a large glass bowl and mix well. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit out on the counter for 1 to 2 hours. The longer you let it sit at room temperature the better. I gives time for all the flavors to come together.

Cook the pasta according to package directions and don’t forget to salt the water.

When the pasta is al-dente drain and rinse gently in cold water. Shake vigorously to get all the water out.

Pour the pasta into a large pasta bowl. Add the tomatoes mixture and really mix well. Sprinkle more Parmesan cheese over if you wish.

It’s that easy!

If you have any left over it’s GREAT the next day.


Twitter @cristinacooks!/CRISTINACOOKS

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