spaghetti al pomodoro

March 18, 2006

spaghetti al pomodoro

We’re at that in-between time in Alaska. The rest of the country is warm and soft, but spring is still a ways off for us. Today was spitting snow and windy, a cold proposition at 18 degrees. We want to be outside 24-7 after a long winter, but outside of skiing and snowshoeing, prudence advises that we wait. Kinda hard to float the raft on frozen streams anyway. So after a long and late night, today’s hangover management necessitated bacon-cheeseburgers and I.P.A. for lunch, which ruled out a serious dinner. Not to mention the fact that a difficult focaccia attempt (first try) left little time or inclination for much effort. We needed something easy, a bit light and filling. I’d picked up Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian this past weekend, so I thumbed through it a bit tonight and found just what we needed.

al pomodoro
3 tbs olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper
2 cans whole tomatoes
3-4 tbs chopped basil
1/2 pound spaghetti
grated Parmesan Reggiano
handful of toasted pine nuts

Saute the garlic for a few minutes over medium high heat until it’s golden. Open the tomatoes – I’ve found that the easiest way to dice them is with a pair of scissors while still in the can – and pour them in with the garlic, juice and all. I don’t use the diced canned tomatoes since I read that manufacturers use calcium chloride to prevent the tomatoes from breaking down while on the shelf. The more processed they are the more preservative they contain, and the diced canned tomatoes have the most, which makes them harder to break down into a sauce. Raise the heat to high, add the salt and pepper to taste and reduce the liquid by about half (5 minutes), stirring frequently. Reduce to medium and allow things to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the basil, allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Toss with al dente pasta, Parmesan, and pine nuts.

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