Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pasta Margarita

It would be nice to pair this simple pasta recipe with sauteed broccoli rabe (blanch broccoli rabe first for a couple of minutes, dry on paper towels and saute in olive oil and sliced garlic -- tutorial upon request), or a simple green salad, a nice piece of crusty bread with olive oil and a glass of wine. This can also be made with gluten-free pasta. Enjoy!

4 oz spaghetti
2 cans crushed tomatoes in puree (I prefer San Marzano)
1 fresh Mozzarella ball (cut up into half-inch cubes, use as much as you want)
2 oz tomato paste
1 grated medium-sized carrot
4 sprigs thyme (leaves removed)
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 large bay leaf
6 or more fresh basil leaves (julienned)
1 large onion (diced)
6 large garlic cloves (minced)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 2 tbsp
Grated parmesan reggiano or asiago cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add onions, minced garlic and red pepper flakes (you can add more red pepper if you want sauce spicier). Reduce to medium heat and add a generous pinch of salt. Stir to incorporate and continue cooking stirring every few minutes until the onions are translucent. This should take about 7 or 8 minutes. Lower the heat if you have to, as you do not want color.

Next, add the grated carrot and tomato paste, stir and cook for one minute. Then add the thyme, basil, oregano and bay leaf. Slowly pour in tomatoes and gently stir to incorporate. Bring up to boil and then reduce heat to simmer for one hour. Stir occasionally. After the sauce is done, you can correct the seasonings by adding salt and freshly ground black pepper.

As sauce is simmering, fill a stock pot with water (don't forget to salt your water!). A few minutes before sauce is done, bring up water to boil and add the spaghetti and cook according to directions on box. I like mine al dente, you might like yours softer. 

Put the cooked pasta in a bowl, ladle sauce on top, add diced mozzarella and toss to coat. Divide among two bowls and garnish with the julienned basil and grated parmesan reggiano or asiago. Drizzle each serving with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.

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