Tuesday, March 20, 2012

simple tomato sauce with spaghetti

Tomato sauce from a jar? Who needs it?  
     Anyone can simply whip up an elegant tomato sauce using few ingredients in a miniscule amount of time. The key is flavor. By using a bit of olive oil and fresh herbs to season a plain can of tomatoes, a beautiful transformation occurs.
     Light and spring-y. Economical and delicious. Fancy made simple.
Ingredients
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large (28 oz.,) cans crushed Italian plum tomatoes
2 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
2 T. fresh basil leaves, torn
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
1 pound fresh or dried spaghetti
Parmesan cheese, shaved
Directions
Put a large, deep pot of water on to boil for pasta. In a large, flat bottom pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Toss in red pepper, garlic and onion. Saute until onion begins to brown. Be sure to pay attention and don't let garlic burn!
Pour in crushed tomatoes. Sprinkle sugar, salt and pepper over. Tear up basil and toss in, giving everything a nice stir. Taste your sauce for seasoning. If it's too tomato-ey, add a bit more sugar or a dash of Worchestershire sauce... That usually tones down that slap-you-in-the-face tomato taste.
Saute on low heat for about thirty minutes. Meanwhile cook the pasta, salting the water liberally after it comes to a boil. Cook a little less time than package says to. Drain pasta and immediately return to pot.
Ladle some sauce over spaghetti and blend. The sauce infiltrates the pasta's surface like a spy behind enemy lines. The pasta finishes cooking at this point.
The marriage of noodles and tomato is such a happy one! Taste it... see if your mouth agrees.
Add more sauce to your own liking, but don't drown the pasta... it's like a little spring jacket, not an overcoat!
     Pile each serving up on a dish like a little beehive and sprinkle with tiny thyme leaves and some shaved Parmesan cheese. A drizzle of olive oil finishes off the flavor. Taste again for seasoning, adding a bit more salt and pepper if needed.
     Serve with sauteed, whole green beans laced with garlic and lemon zest and a rustic boule. Now, pour a nice glass of red, sit, place your napkin on your lap and enjoy.
     Who needs sauce from a jar? Certainly NOT you!

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