Thursday, March 3, 2016


Here is a recipe for a quick and classic tomato sauce from Southern Italy that can be used with pasta and ravioli. Butter is not often used in Southern Italian food with the exception of this sauce. This may be your go-to tomato sauce. I prefer the strained tomato sauce in the jar for this recipe. They use quality Italian tomatoes and just mash and strain them of seeds.

1 T (15 ml) extra-light olive oil or grape seed oil
4 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press or finely minced
½ t red pepper flakes
1 (24 oz/710 ml) glass jar tomato sauce (passata di pomodoro)
¼ jar white wine or water
1 T (15 ml) finely grated carrot or 1 t (5 ml) granulated sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch basil leaves, stems and all
1 to 2 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rinds

3 T (45 ml) unsalted butter

½ lb (250 g) spaghetti
1 T (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
2 basil sprigs, for garnish

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes for one minute.
Add the tomato sauce and fill the jar ¼ full with white wine or water and add to the sauce.
Add the grated carrot or sugar, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Tuck in the basil, and cheese rinds.

Stir and let slowly simmer 25 minutes.

After sauce has been cooking about 10 minutes, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti.
Cook pasta for 7 to 8 minutes, until al dente.
Ladle out about ½ cup (125 ml) of the pasta cooking water and set aside.

When sauce is finished cooking, use tongs to remove the basil and cheese rinds from the sauce and discard.
Add some or all of the pasta cooking water, if sauce is too thick.

Add the butter and stir until melted and combined with the sauce.

Drain spaghetti and pour back into the pot that you cooked the spaghetti in.
Ladle in some of the tomato sauce to cover the spaghetti.

Divide between two warm pasta bowls, add a little more sauce and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and garnish each with a sprig of basil, if desired.

Serves 2

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