My history with spaghetti (al) pomodoro (spaghetti with a pure tomato sauce) has been a little chequered, and it's only recently that I got around to learning the sucker. Here's why...
After several years of visiting my wife's super-cute home town of Rapallo on Italy's Ligurian coast, in September 2011 I finally persuaded her to take a walk with me - well, a full-on trek really - through the mountain trail that winds its way between the famous Cinque Terre (5 villages).
With hundreds of steps to trog up, plenty of other pesky inclines and the beating Mediterranean sun at our backs, this was no simple walk in the park (at least for us unfit kitchen dwellers). So we worked up a real appetite.
The dish I was craving by the time we staggered into Riomaggiore? It's really as basic (and as tasty) as they come: spaghetti al pomodoro. This tomato joy did the business of course (particularly with some crusty bread on hand for discrete dish mop-up!), so I considered it 7 euros well spent and went on my way...
Cut to last week here at the beginning of 2012, and the craving came back with a vengeance. I had no interest, for once, in our staple tomato sauce with chopped onions as its base, no sir, I came home demanding a more pure, sweeter kind of spaghetti covering.
So Laura whipped up this page's tomatoey little beauty and I got my fill along with a stupidly simple recipe for this site.
Truth: To be honest, complexity- and length-wise this pasta recipe hardly merits a whole web page to itself, but it's just so full of juicy tomato taste that it would be silly to hide it away on another larger page. It's spaghetti al pomodoro people - it simply doesn't get any better suited to Pasta Recipes Made Easy!
We'll be done in no time...
1-Minute Video Overview
400g/14oz can of plum or chopped tomatoes
10 fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove
Extra virgin olive oil
Optional: parmesan cheese
Equipment: food processor/blender
STEP 1 - This recipe's preparation is real quick. Just:
- Peel and de-end the garlic clove.
- Rinse and tear the basil leaves.
- Bang the toms with 1.5 teaspoons of salt into the food processor and whiz for 20 seconds until smooth.
STEP 2 - Now we'll get the sauce going...
- Drop the garlic clove and 2 tablespoons of oil into a cooking pan and heat on medium until the garlic starts to sizzle.
- Now the oil's hot enough, add the basil leaves too and fry gently until the clove starts to brown (3-5 mins). Then take it out (it's just to flavor the oil).
STEP 3 - Now drop in your puréed tomatoes and add a good squirt of tomato paste.
- Cook on a medium heat until the sauce loses its sourness.
STEP 4 - While the sauce cooks, start your spaghetti cooking in a large second pan full of boiling, well-salted water.
- Cook your pasta as per its packet's timings.
Tip: Is the pasta ready? If in doubt, bite into it and check the white center has pretty much disappeared.
Now drain the pasta and you're ready to serve!
To serve: either mix the spaghetti through with the pomodoro sauce in the pan, or serve the spaghetti in bowls first and then carefully spoon the sauce onto the center of each pasta serving.
And if you like, grate over a chunk or two of parmesan cheese.
Next time you make it, why not drop a half onion (peeled of course) into the tomato sauce while it cooks.
This should make it taste a little bit sweeter still.