Serve this spicy tomato-and-artichoke sauce over tortellini. We like it cold as well as hot, and often recommend it for picnics.
1 pound ripe meaty tomatoes
6 ounces marinated artichoke hearts
2 tablespoons best-quality olive oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
or to taste
1 tablespoon grated Romano cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the tomatoes, a few at a time, into the boiling water. Scald for 10 seconds, then, with a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water. Scald all the tomatoes in this fashion, then drain, cool, and slip off the skins. Cut crosswise into halves, squeeze out the seeds and juice, and chop coarsely. Reserve.
Drain the artichokes and reserve the marinade.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic, parsley, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the black peppercorns to the onion mixture.
Add the tomatoes to the sauce, season with the salt, and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 1 hour.
Add the reserved artichoke marinade and simmer, stirring often, for another 30 minutes.
Stir in the artichokes and continue to simmer until the sauce is rich and thick, another 20 minutes or so. Stir in the Romano cheese, and taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve over your favorite pasta. (If serving pasta Raphael cold, toss with sauce and cool to room temperature.)