Foodie Friday: Pasta al Pomodoro
-¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
-1 medium onion, minced
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
-28 oz. can peeled tomatoes, pureed
-Kosher or Sea salt
-3 large basil sprigs, plus basil leaves for garnish
-12 oz pasta of choice (spaghetti, linguine, rotini, or cavatappi recommended)
-2 tbsp unsalted butter
-¼ cup finely grated parmesan, pecorino, or romano cheese
1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft. In a separate pot, bring salted water to a boil.
2. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for about 2-4 minutes (remember to use your nose and keep close attention on fragrance; you don’t want the garlic to burn)
3. Add the pepper flakes and cook for about a minute to release flavor. Increase the heat to medium, add t he tomatoes, and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken slightly and the flavors blend (roughly 20 minutes).
4. Remove the pan from heat, stir in the basil sprigs, and set aside.
5. In the pot, add pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally until it is close to al dente (but not quite there yet). Drain the pasta, reserving about ½ a cup of the pasta water.
6. Remove the basil from the sauce and heat the skillet over high heat. Stir in the reserved water to loosen the sauce and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring, until al dente. Remove the pan from the heat, add butter and cheese, and toss until the cheese and butter has melted.
7. Transfer to warm bowls, and garnish with grated cheese and basil leaves or parsley.
When I get home from work, my boyfriend sometimes comments about how I smell. As I work in an Italian kitchen, this can either be a good thing or a bad thing for him. On a good day, I end up smelling like alfredo with a hint of garlic. On a bad day, I come home smelling strongly of tomatoes. Love them or hate them, it’s difficult to separate the tomato from Italian cooking. From savory to sweet, tomatoes have a wonderful range of flavor depending upon how they’re cooked, and they lend a vibrant red color to whatever dish they’re being made into.
Given how strong of an association tomatoes have to Italian cuisine, it’s sometimes easy to forget that historically, tomatoes are actually fairly new to European cooking, having been introduced as part of the Columbian Exchange and spurned because of its status as a member of the nightshade family of plants, much like potatoes and eggplant. It wouldn’t be for another 150 years before tomatoes would be considered safe for consumption, and even then, only in sauces.
Part of the fear of tomatoes was because of its link to deadly nightshade, but another aspect of this fear was due to its connection to lust. Its deep red color and use as a powerful aphrodisiac linked it rather strongly to the temptation of Eve in the Christian Genesis story, and some languages still associate tomatoes with lust and love (particularly French - pomme d’amore - and Hungarian - paradice appfel - which mean “apple of love” and “apple of paradise” respectively).
In terms of health, tomatoes are extremely beneficial for those who aren’t allergic or sensitive to their acidity. In particular, they’re useful in aiding liver function and are rich in potassium and citric acid. In addition, their high water content makes them useful in helping with hydration.
But in witchcraft, the tomato continues to embrace its status as an ingredient of lust, love, protection, and money-drawing - especially when paired with other ingredients with shared correspondences. When dried and added to sachets, tomatoes can be excellent in attracting love (or sex), or if added along with dried basil or rosemary can be a great money sachet or protection sachet respectively.
Consider pairing tomato varieties with your purpose. If attempting to attract money, consider using a golden variety or little green tomatillos. If working lust or love spells, plump red tomatoes are always a great choice. If looking for protection, consider fiery orange colors.
Many names for tomatoes have linked them to apples. As such, it’s not too great a leap to replace apples in other spells with tomatoes, if it seems appropriate or is more accessible. On the flip side, tomatoes can also be used in spells where nightshade may be an ingredient. While not poisonous, tomatoes are much more easily obtained and the family resemblance is rather uncanny.
For garden witchery, tomatoes are exceptional plants to grow for protection and wealth. Grow them to help banish negativity and invite positive energy to the property, as well as to encourage prosperity and love.
Consider different ways in which this delicious fruit can be used in your spells! Whether cooking up a sauce, roasting them, or setting them in the window to banish negative energy, tomatoes are useful and versatile ingredients for the every day witch!
May all your meals be blessed! )O(