Here's one to pack away in the "family secrets" recipe file. A simple tomato sauce perfect for really, just about anything. Since there are so few ingredients - it's important that you use a really good quality everything, most importantly, the tomatoes. I use San Marzano tomatoes...if you've never heard of them, here's what Wikipedia has to say:
"The story goes that the first seed of the San Marzano tomato came to Campania in 1770, as a gift from the Kingdom of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples, and that it was planted in the area that corresponds to the present commune of San Marzano. They come from a small town of the same name near Naples, Italy, and were first grown in volcanic soil in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. The volcanic soil is believed to act as a filter for water impurities. Compared to the Roma Tomatoes with which most people are familiar, Marzano tomatoes are thinner and pointier in shape. The flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is much stronger, more sweet, and less acidic."
...So, there you have it (the story anyway). Here's the recipe:
Serves: 1 lb. of pasta
Prep time: 10 minutes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Garlic Cloves (3)
- Basil Leaves (6-10)
- One 28 oz. tin San Marzano tomatoes, peeled, whole
- 4 T. butter
- 2 saucepans
- 1 strainer
- wooden spoon
First, slice the garlic cloves. Then heat 1/2 C. olive oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add garlic cloves. When garlic is blonde, add the basil leaves and cover immediately (will splatter). Let the basil fry for another 2 minutes while you open the can of tomatoes. When you are ready to add the tomatoes to the saucepan with the olive oil and garlic, take the pan off the heat. Break the tomatoes up a bit in the pan, cover, replace pan over a low flame for another 5-10 minutes. The next step is straining the sauce. Put your strainer over a clean saucepan, and pour sauce into strainer. Use your spoon to push the sauce through the strainer. Get as much sauce as you can through, but don't feel bad if you have lots of solids left (I had almost 3/4 C. basil leaves, garlic, and tomato stems). Put the strained sauce back on the stove, over a low flame. Stir, season with salt to taste (probably 1t. to 2t.). Next, cube the 4 T. butter, and add them to the sauce. Stir until smooth.
The secret, aside from the tomatoes of course, is the butter. By infusing the sweet tomatoes with basil, olive oil, and garlic flavors, then straining it and and adding butter - you get a wonderfully rich sauce that is perfectly smooth. This thin sauce is perfect for long pasta, like angel hair. Don't forget fresh grated parmiggiano over the top of your pasta and sauce, and a nice Chianti.