Here's my contribution to the May vegetarian theme:
3 medium sized ripened tomatoes with lots of flavour
1 garlic clove - grated with a wasabi grater, crushed or finely chopped
1 tablespoon of rinsed capers, chopped
8 olives, sliced (I use green, manzanilla olives)
1 finely sliced shallot (alternatively, use scallion/spring onion or a small piece of onion)
3 to 4 tablespoons of good olive oil
enough dried pasta (your choice) for two portions
optional - 2 finely sliced jalapeño peppers (I recommend 'la preferida' brand, unsliced, available canned from the "whole foods" chain)
1. If peeling the tomatoes do this now (I rarely bother)
- to peel tomatoes, score them lightly, dunk them in boiling water for 10 seconds and then dunk them in ice cold water, skins should slip off easily
Cut the tomatoes into small cubes, lay them on a flat chopping board, sprinkle with a generous teaspoon of sea salt and leave the board propped up at an angle over the sink. Surplus liquid from the tomatoes will eventually start to drain away and run into the sink (you can gently press down onto the tomatoes with your palms from time to time to help the process along)
2. In a large bowl, add the olive oil, add the garlic, capers, olives and shallot (jalapeños also, if using). Stir and leave the flavours to infuse together (salt will come from the tomatoes)
3. In boiling salted water, cook enough pasta for two portions according to preference.
4. Just before the pasta is ready, add the prepared tomatoes to the oil and 'sauce' ingredients in the bowl and mix together.
5. Once the pasta is done, drain it thoroughly, and, whilst still piping hot, add it to the bowl of tomatoes and quickly stir together. Season to taste and add to bento.
(If making for an omnivore who demands some sort of flesh, canned tuna can be added.)
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