It turns out that the best no-cook pasta sauce…is undercooked. There’s a reason classic marinara takes an hour on the stovetop, or tomato paste (itself a long-cooked, deeply concentrated tomato product) is such a popular sauce ingredient – tomatoes are simply better when their tangy, shiny sweetness drags through a hot skillet. for a certain time. But peak summer tomatoes are nearly perfect straight from the farmers market, and the last thing I want to do on a hot evening is spend hours stirring a pot of bubbling sauce. So, to get the best of both worlds, we make deeply flavorful tomato pasta that’s extremely quick and almost no-cook.
For this recipe, you won’t even need to get out a knife and cutting board; all the prep action happens with a box grater. Grating the tomatoes creates a juicy, fresh, vegetable pulp – cook it in a high-sided skillet (to catch the splatter; a Dutch oven also works) for a few minutes, then add fish sauce and miso to a punch of powerfully savory flavors (and also all the salt you’ll need, which is why you won’t find any here). The pasta is finished with black pepper and butter, which combine with the miso to create a velvety texture. Don’t be fooled by the pale color of the sauce: it packs a punch and you’ll come back to it as long as the tomatoes are at their ripest.