I think I might of mentioned Vincenzos relationship with pasta, the passionate and devoted one, the one that means if he doesn’t eat it everyday he is decidedly out of sorts.I don’t really understand it. Don’t get me wrong I adore pasta and will happily eat it everyday, lunchtime being my preferred hour, but I don’t need it in the way he does. Good thing is, I don’t need to understand his dependency, I just need to cook a lot of pasta.I am not about to start giving you a pasta tutorial, you probably know better than me, but I would like to share a recipe which I think I have practised and mastered in a humble way. It is a recipe which never fails to delight Vincenzo, he says the sugo is almost as good as his nonnas, he kisses me when I hand him the plate.
If it was summer I would be recommending some startlingly red San Marzano tomatoes with their firm flesh, comparatively small core of flesh and full flavour or vine ripened Roma for the sugo. Unfortunately its not summer, most definitely not summer and so completely satisfactory tomatoes are not available, so it is better to use a tin of very good imported Italian plum tomatoes.
This recipe is from a muddle of sources and a host of Italians. It is a combination of endless sauces I have watched being made, helped to make, made and eaten. It also owes a enormous debt to Marcella Hazan, as does much of my cooking.
This sauce is dense and dark, slowly cooked over a base of sauteed vegetables
Spaghetti with tomato sauce and ricotta
Inspired by many, guided by Marcella Hazan.
- 500g tinned plum tomatoes
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 tbsp very finely chopped onion
- 6 tbsp very finely chopped carrot
- 6 tbsp very finely chopped celery
- 500g – 600g good spaghetti
- 200g fresh Ricotta di pecora
- some sprigs of basil
First make your sauce.
In a large heavy based pan warm the olive oil and add the onion. Raise the heat to modest medium and saute the onion until soft and very pale gold.
Add the carrot and celery, stir well and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes and a good pinch of salt and stir. Lower the heat and allow the sauce to gently cook and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes stirring from time to time.
Just before you turn off the heat, taste and add more salt if you feel the sauce needs it.
About 15 minutes before the sauce is ready, bring a large, deeper than wide pan of cold water to a fast boil and salt it generously (about 10g to each litre of water.)
Drop the spaghetti in the water and cook to al dente perfection. depending on the brand this will take anything from 6 – 10 minutes.
Once the pasta is ready drain it quickly. You have timed this perfectly, so your sauce is now ready.
Working quickly divide the pasta between your warmed pasta bowls. Spoon over some of your sauce and place a slice of ricotta, a sprig of basil and a dribble of raw oil on each serving.