There’s no doubt about it – the inspiration for publishing this family dish came from the movie, Eat, Pray, Love®. Spaghetti has never been high on my list of favorite pasta varieties. However, when I saw Julia Roberts slurping up that succulent spaghetti in Rome, “mi è venuta una gran voglia di mangiare spaghetti” or, “I suddenly got the craving for spaghetti”.
Here’s the spaghetti and sauce recipe I was raised with in Italy – it’s easy, fresh and sweet. Please promise that after making this tomato sauce, you’ll ignore all jarred, ready-made sauces forever!
Prep time: 30 minutes
3 pounds large red heirloom tomatoes (about 10 to 12 count)
6 to 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, whole
Dash freshy grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 to 7 fresh basil leaves, whole or slivered
1 pound spaghetti
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1. Quarter the tomatoes, remove and discard seeds.
2. In a food processor or by hand, coarsely chop the tomatoes and set them aside in a large bowl.
3. In a 2-quart saucepot, heat the oil and stir fry the garlic cloves until they turn golden brown.
4. Remove saucepot from heat. Pour the chopped tomatoes over garlic and oil in saucepot and bring to a boil. Stir in the grated nutmeg.
5. Cook tomato sauce on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the fresh basil, set aside and keep warm.
6. Meanwhile, in a 4-quart saucepot, bring water to a boil. Add spaghetti to boiling water.
7. Using tongs, push the pasta into the water as it softens. Set heat on medium and boil the pasta 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente or crunchy-tender.
8. Drain pasta and transfer it to a large glass or porcelain serving bowl. Add 3 ladles of tomato sauce and stir gently.
9. Serve pasta in individual bowls and top with some tomato sauce. Ask guests to add their own grated cheese.
Wine pairing: Fiano di Avellino (white); Cabernet Sauvignon or Sangiovese (reds).
Note: To avoid overcooking, begin tasting pasta after 6 minutes cooking time (since each pasta variety has a different density, cooking times will vary).
Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real