It’s tomato season, which means you really have no excuse to turn to canned or jarred tomato sauce when you can create something much fresher and tastier out of your garden or local fruit & vegetable market.
This recipe is one of several that Cari and I have stolen from a cookbook my mother-in-law has at home. Its greatness lies in its simplicity… fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, a little bit of seasoning and that’s it. We’ve made it with spaghetti and linguini, both of which are immensely satisfying. Generally Cari and I both prefer tomato sauces that are chunky and resemble real tomatoes, rather than the liquefied form.
Here’s the recipe:
1 lb dried, store-bought spaghetti (though we have also made it from scratch for this recipe)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic
2 lbs fresh ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn by hand into 1/2 inch pieces
pinch of red pepper flakes
1. Put all but 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and all the garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the garlic begins to sizzle.
2. Add the tomatoes as soon as the garlic begins to change colour. When the liquid begins to reduce, season with salt. Continue cooking over a medium-high heat until the tomatoes have reduced and separated from the oil: 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the skillet.
3. While the sauce is cooking, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan or pot.
4. When the sauce has reduced, add the torn basil leaves and the pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.
5. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the boiling water in the saucepan. Drop in the pasta, stirring until the strands are submerged. When cooking al dente, drain and toss with the sauce in the skillet, adding the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Taste for salt and serve at once.