Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

Fettucini with immediate tomato sauce

4 October 2012

The last of the summer’s ripe tomatoes may be a little soft, a little blemished, they may not warrant much attention as heads will be turned by the arrival of bright yellow squash and orange pumpkins. What these tomatoes want is this sauce exactly. It is so quick, so easy that it will barely distract from the anticipation of slow roasts and apple pies. It is so good that those blemished tomatoes may soon be missed, as the creeping cold leaves heaps of unripened green tomatoes in its wake, with no better prospect but to be transfigured into chutney.

The sauce sort of made itself one night, and I was taken aback by how easy it was to create such a good sauce in so little time. I’d always supposed that good tomato sauce needs to simmer gently and reduce patiently. On that evening there was no time and, temptingly, in the kitchen, some good fettucini and a few roma tomatoes.

All I did was cut the tomatoes lengthwise in sixths, slice a few garlic cloves, heat some olive oil in a large skillet, throw in the garlic for barely a minute, add the tomatoes, and wait until most of the juice had evaporated and the tomatoes hinged on golden and in some places brown. It took perhaps 10 minutes, just about the time to boil the pasta.

***

For two

5 ripe tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

Good olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

200 g good fettucini

Really good olive oil

Parmigiano-reggiano

Few basil leaves

*

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil for the pasta.

Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise then in half in thirds. Peel and thinly slice the garlic.

Carefully slide in the fettucini. Cook in a heavy boil.

Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large heavy skillet. **The skillet should be large enough so the tomatoes are in one layer only.** Cook the garlic for barely a minute over medium to high heat, until translucent, then add the tomatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook the tomatoes over high heat until a lot of the juice has evaporated and they start turning brown.

Start checking the pasta regularly after about 8 minutes (by carefully taking one out and eating it). Drain quickly in a colander as soon as the pasta is just al dente (or to desired consistency) and return immediately to the pot used for boiling the pasta (one could use another pot but it’s much simpler this way). **It is important not to overdrain the pasta. If it is too dry it will become sticky.** Quickly drizzle generously with good olive oil so the pasta doesn’t stick.

Transfer the pasta to individual bowls. Spoon over the tomatoes, add a drizzle of very good olive oil, tear up a few leaves of basil on each bowl, and grate some parmigiano to finish.

Spaghetti with ramp pesto, walnuts, and parmigiano

29 May 2012

Coming home from a few lovely days in the country /
The heavy air washes away the weekend breeze /
There’s not much in the kitchen /
Some ramp pesto squirreled away in the freezer /
A few walnuts cracked /
Spaghetti and parmigiano always in the house /
Rosé /
Home. It doesn’t take much.

***

I was lucky enough to have ramp pesto left in the freezer, but this works perfectly well with traditional basil or any other pesto. I always buy fresh pesto (in the refrigerated section) rather than the jarred long-conservation kind, and store it in the freezer so there is always pesto in the house.

Spaghetti, 100g per person

Ramp pesto, one generous tablespoon per person

Walnuts

Wedge of parmigiano (not grated)

*

Bring a large pot of well salted water to boil. Coarse sea salt works well for this; the water should be as salty as sea water.

In a small saucepan, gently heat the ramp pesto until it is warm but not hot.

Crack the walnuts.

Using a vegetable peeler, cut the parmigiano into thin shavings .

Once the water boils, carefully slide in the spaghetti. Cook in a heavy boil. Start checking the pasta regularly after about 8 minutes (by carefully taking one out and eating it). Drain quickly in a colander as soon as the pasta is just al dente (or to desired consistency) and return immediately to the pot used for boiling the pasta (one could use another pot but it’s much simpler this way). **It is important not to overdrain the pasta. If it is too dry it will become sticky.** Quickly drizzle generously with good olive oil so the pasta doesn’t stick.

Stir in the pesto and combine well. Plate the pasta, add the walnuts and parmigiano on each plate individually. Eat.

*

Related posts

At the market | Ramps (ramp pesto)

Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, mozarella, and basil

Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil

22 September 2010

This dish is inspired by the spaghetti alla chitarra from Malatesta Trattoria in the West Village. Its terrace was our summer haunt some years ago when we lived just around the corner. It’s a good quick dinner, especially if all you happen to have in your kitchen are cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella in the fridge.

***

For 4

1 pint* cherry tomatoes

4 garlic cloves

2 mozzarella di bufala

400g spaghetti

Basil leaves

Best olive oil for seasoning

***

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Be generous with the salt (coarse sea salt works well for this) – pasta water should be as salty as sea water.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Very thinly slice the garlic cloves and throw into a hot skillet with olive oil for about 30 seconds, taking very good care that it does not become brown. Add the cherry tomatoes and fry them in the oil for a few minutes, until they start to become soft. **The skillet should be large enough so the tomato halves don’t overlap too much.** Meanwhile throw the pasta into the boiling water.

Check the pasta regularly after about 8 minutes and drain as soon as it is just al dente (or to desired consistency).

At the last minute, break up the mozzarella, add it to the tomatoes, and cook over medium heat until everything melts into a bubbling sauce. Immediately bowl the pasta, add the sauce, a few coarsely chopped basil leaves, and a thin drizzle of very good olive oil (no need to add olive oil unless it is exceptionally good and adds a kick to the dish). Serve very quickly or the melted mozzarella will begin to harden.

*Cherry tomatoes and berries are sold by the pint in the US. A dry pint is the equivalent of a generous bowl.

*

Related posts

Braised chicken legs with cherry tomatoes

Avocado, cucumber, and cherry tomato with red pepper and parsley

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