In Italian cuisine, the ingredients must be fresh and simple. This traditional tomato sauce comes from the region of Campania in southern Italy – where I was an apprentice to my maestra and grandmother – Nonna Annunziata. This classic recipe is delicious with any type of pasta.
Prep time: 40 to 45 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
3 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (8 or 9 count)
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 small onion, finely chopped
¾ to 1 teaspoon sea salt
¾ teaspoon sugar
6 to 8 fresh large basil leaves
1. Place tomatoes in a 5 or 6-quart saucepot; cover with cold water and bring to a boil.
2. Uncover and continue boiling on medium-high heat, about 5 to 7 minutes or until skins crack.
3. Drain tomatoes and cool to lukewarm, about 15 minutes.
4. Peel tomatoes and transfer to a blender; liquefy and set aside.
5. In the meantime, wash and dry the saucepot. In same saucepot, heat the oil and stir-fry the garlic and onion on medium heat until onion is translucent, about 1 to 2 minutes.
6. Remove saucepot with onion mixture from hot burner.
7. Transfer the liquefied tomatoes to the saucepot and return to the hot burner.
8. Bring tomato sauce to a boil. Stir in the salt, sugar and nutmeg; simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust salt level. Cover the sauce and set aside.
9. Meanwhile, fill a 5 to 6-quart saucepot with cold water and bring to a boil.
10. Cook one pound of pasta (any variety) per manufacturer’s instructions (to avoid overcooking, begin tasting pasta after 6 minutes). Cook until pasta is “al dente” or crunchy-tender.
11. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl or pot. Add 2 to 4 ladles of warm sauce to the pasta and serve in individual bowls.
12. Top each serving with a half ladle of sauce followed by slivered basil leaves. Add freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese.
Serve with your favorite wine.
Text ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real