Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Best Fresh Summer Spaghetti Sauce

I really need to admit to you that we ate most of this up when it was hot out of the kitchen, without taking a picture of course, so this is a picture of my plate of leftovers the next day, with no garnish. On a paper plate. 'Cause I'm classy like that.

The key to this very simple recipe is good quality tomatoes, and a blender or processor of some kind. The blending is going to take the place of cooking the sauce down, you know, to get a nice smooth texture. It will be the perfect sauce to really stick to the spaghetti. Basically you are not really cooking the sauce, as much as you are just heating the tomatoes through and preserving their fresh sweetness. 

If you don't have blender of any kind, you can of course chop everything really tiny, but in that case I would cook this a little longer and I would also use a different pasta: like little shells or orecchiette, something with nooks and crannies to catch all the chunks of sauce.

5 cups (approximate) of fresh cherry tomatoes, squished in the pan or halved
1/2 a small onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt (or more- to taste)
1 dash black pepper
a handful of  pine nuts (if you don't have pine nuts, you can try other nuts or seeds, I'll bet it's still good)
1 tablespoon fresh or dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
1 tablespoon butter
1 small slice of stale bread, crumbled up, or just toast fresh crumbs in a pan (optional, this is more for added texture if needed, but it's a good idea if the tomatoes are extra watery. If you refuse to use pine nuts, you will definitely need these.)
4 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese (this is not time for Permesan)

If, through no fault of your own, you do not have sweet cherry tomatoes, and you have instead chopped up some tasteless winter hothouse tomatoes, add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of sugar to the mix.

In a pot, heat up two of the tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat, then fry the chopped onion and garlic for about a minute, stirring. Add the tomatoes, spices, the rest of the olive oil, the pine nuts, and heat through for about five minutes. Blend well with an immersion blender or food processor, then put back on the heat, but turned down to low to keep warm while you make the pasta. Cook 16oz of spaghetti or capellini according to the package directions (in SALTED water), and when drained (but still wet) toss immediately with the sauce, breadcrumbs, cheese and butter. 

Don't be alarmed at all this oil and butter. Think about it, there's no meat in it, and it's five tablespoons total for a whole pound of pasta- you should be able to serve four or five people with that.

This goes with white wine of course, and I liked the Neyers Chardonnay I had with it.