Sunday, April 15, 2012

Crack pasta and an epic failure

Earlier this week I mentioned a pasta sauce recipe that I deemed my version of crack. It's easy, with few ingredients, and always tastes delicious. There aren't any photos because it disappeared so quickly.

When my husband's aunt recited the recipe to me, I was doubtful. No garlic? Or onion? How is that possible? She reassured me that despite the lack of garlic, it was fantastic.

The recipe she gave me was from Scarpetta, and there are several versions of the recipe online. Here's my adaptation (well, Aunt MA's adaptation). Try it! It's fantastic!

2 large cans peeled and whole San Marzano tomatoes*
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
red pepper flakes
1 T butter
grated parmigiano reggiano
fresh basil

Bring tomatoes and olive oil to a simmer on medium to medium-high heat (our stove is finicky). Generously salt the tomatoes and shake in red pepper flakes to your liking. Let the tomatoes simmer for about 20 minutes, until they start breaking down. Meanwhile, cook your spaghetti to pre-al dente - and this is important. The pasta must be pre-al dente, because you're going to throw the pasta into the sauce later to finish cooking it.

Once your sauce has been simmering for about 20 minutes, give it a taste (because who doesn't dip a spoon or a piece of fresh baguette in to see how it's coming along?). If you think it's about ready, shred a few basil leaves and add them, along with the butter, to your sauce. Stir them in and add your pre-al dente spaghetti. Stir the pasta in, making sure to coat the spaghetti with the sauce, and allow it to cook for a couple minutes. Serve pasta with a sprinkling (or coating, if you're like my husband) of parmigiano reggiano.

* One quick note - MA said to use San Marzano tomatoes. I can't stomach spending that much every single time I want to make the recipe, so I just use the Whole Foods brand. Works like a charm. If you want to splash out for the San Marzanos, though, I say go for it!

TRY THIS PASTA. It has become a staple in our kitchen, and it's a go-to recipe for us when we need a quick meal.

On another, less successful note, I tried making king ranch casserole tonight. It was an epic fail. FAIL. Steve was very nice and said it tasted just fine, but it was a total disaster. Instead of just asking my mother for her tried-and-true recipe, I googled. (There's my first mistake.) Then Whole Foods didn't have any corn tortillas...and neither did the other couple markets near our house. So I used flour tortillas, which just soaked up the liquid and got soggy. Then I, against my better judgment, followed the recipe and blended the different liquids used in the casserole. Just added to the soggy nature of the whole dish.

Lesson learned. Always ask Mom for her recipe. Don't use flour tortillas. Go with your instinct.

Now it's time to use the horribly brown bananas in our fruit bowl. Fingers crossed the banana bread turns out better!