Saturday, June 14, 2008

first of the season

the first of the fresh tomatoes this season . . .

. . . this means that it is time for our favorite summer classic:

spaghetti with garlic, tomato and basil

(normally you would use fresh, plum tomatoes for this presentation. But we are lucky to get some organic, incredibly delicious "early girls", that are full flesh and sauce ready).

for the sauce:

  • five tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5-6 medium cloves of garlic
  • one pound fresh tomatoes, roughly diced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
  • 30 or so large fresh basil leaves (about one cup), torn into small pieces
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese

for the pasta

  • one pound of spaghetti

Start by putting the plates in the oven to get them warm.

Then continue by immediately heating the water - 4 to 5 quarts of cold water. To a raging boil. Add two tablespoons of salt. Drop in the pasta and stir. Drain, saving a quarter cup of the liquid.

Meanwhile, put the oil into a saute pan, large enough to hold the spaghetti. Medium heat. Add the garlic. When it starts to sizzle add the chopped tomatoes, plus a teaspoon of salt and a few twists of freshly ground pepper. Cook for about four minutes. The tomatoes should sort of retain their shape, just starting to break down if they were quite ripe. Stir in the basil. Check for salt.

Ideally the spaghetti should be done just about this time. Add the pasta to the sauce. Add the reserved liquid. Stir well. Add the grated parmesan and stir again.

At this point we like to cover the pan, turn the heat to high, and get a great steam going, so the pasta as presented will be truly "steaming" hot.