Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Perfect Spaghetti Al Pomodoro E Basilico

This is a simple dish but it is amazing how many people over complicate it or make a total hash of it.

With any recipe it's good quality ingredients , 25% execution and cooking technique.

So if you are making this dish in winter or live in a country where good sun ripened tomatoes are not easy to find then use a good brand of tinned San Marzano tomatoes like Analissa , avoid the Cirio brand who ruin the tomatoes by pasturisation. Choose a decent Italian virgin olive oil , good fresh garlic (my preference is for L'Ail Rose de Lautrec)fresh basil again with a provenance from a hot sunny country rather than northern EuropeAn greenhouse varieties.

Also choose a good brand of 'artisanal" orindustrial Spaghetti ( forget fresh pasta - this should only be homemade using the best durum wheat flour and fresh farm eggs and suitable for certain types of shapes/dishes Tagliatelle, Parpadelle, Tortelli, Ravioli etc.( why millions of Brits buy chilled fresh pasta from supermarkets I really don't know) I recommend Spaghetti Giueseppe Cocco or better still one of the top Gragnano pastas like Gentile , Di Nola , Di Martino etc..

Four 4

500g of Pasta
800g of ripe Italian San Marzano Tomatoes or 900g or a top DOP tinned product
4 Table Spoons of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 full heaped tea spoon of tomato concentrate
4 cloves of garlic
6-8 Basil Leaves
2 tea spoons of good sea salt
pinch of sugar
Pepper to taste

For Sauce
Heat oil in large frying pan and add garlic chopped
Before garlic turns brown add peeled and de seeded tomatoes
Add sugar and concentrate salt and pepper
Keep heat on full and help tomato flesh break up
Cook on full for 2-3 minutes then on low for 5 minutes then push on the tomatoes a bit more with a woden spoon to bing the sauce so it looks like a lumpy sauce

For Pasta
Bring water in a large pan to the boil add two or 3 tea spoons of sea salt
Add pasta and cook til al dente
Drain the pasta and throw into the frying pan with sauce tear half the basil by hand and mix in
Serve the pasta in deep dishes and decorate each plate with the remaing Basil

Serve with or without (mimimum) 24 month old King of the Cheeses - Parmigiano Regaino !