Pasta Raphael

Serves 4 to 6

1 pound ripe meaty tomatoes
Half a jar (6 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts
2 tablespoons best-quality olive oil
½ cup coarsely chopped yellow onions
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 bunch of watercress
1 tablespoon grated Romano cheese


1. 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.
2. Drain the artichokes and reserve the marinade.
3. 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.
4. Add the black peppercorns to the onion mixture.
5. Add the tomatoes to the sauce, season with salt, and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes.
6. Add the reserved artichoke marinade and simmer, stirring often, for another 5 minutes.
7. Stir in the artichokes and continue to simmer until the sauce is rich and thick, another 5 minutes or so. Add cut up watercress and immediately serve over your favorite pasta. Sprinkle Romano cheese on top.