Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Scarpetta's Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato Sauce And Garlic Basil Olive Oil

Scarpetta's Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato Sauce And Garlic Basil Olive Oil Recipe

The great American tradition today is to enjoy a meal with family - a meal that is served every January 1st featuring foods that, when consumed, will bring good health and fortune in the coming year. My childhood New Year's Day dinner was always a slow cooked pork roast surrounded by sauerkraut.  As an adult, my tradition evolved to celebrating the New Year, with all new possibilities, with a brand new recipe.  A different recipe each year - one that I have been storing in my files but have not gotten around to trying.

This year our "good luck" dinner is Scarpetta's {Beverly Hills restaurant} signature pasta dish.  This dish is so popular that I recall it's creator, Scott Conant, once joking that its sales would put his child through college. It is simple and simply delicious.  And I certainly hope it brings good health and fortune,

Happy New Year to all of you! Here's to 2013 being filled with love, laughter and great health. 

Scarpetta's Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato Sauce And Garlic Basil Olive Oil

4 ripe tomatoes {preferably Roma}{*}
one 12 oz can of San Marzano whole tomatoes
2 T extra virgin olive oil
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 T unsalted butter
1/2 c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
8 basil leaves, stacked and rolled into a cylinder and thinly sliced crosswise {chiffonade}
16 oz spaghetti {I used whole wheat}
- and for the basil-garlic infused olive oil
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, cut in halves
10 whole fresh basil leaves
generous pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Have a large bowl of ice water ready. Cut a small x at the bottom of each tomato. Ease the tomatoes into the pot one by one and boil for 15 seconds, until the skin just starts to blister. Promptly remove the tomatoes and place them in the ice water .  Peel the skin from the tomatoes and cut them in half.  Cut away the tough upper core and flick out the seeds with your finger.

In a wide pan, heat 2 T olive oil over medium high heat. Add the fresh and canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes until they are softened and then "chop" them using a potato masher. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 20- 25 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce starts cooking down too soon, reduce heat to low to slow down the cooking process. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary and remove from heat.

While the tomatoes are cooking, make the garlic-basil olive oil. Heat a small saucepan on low and add 1/4 c olive oil, garlic cloves, basil leaves and pepper flakes. Keep the heat low to allow the ingredients to infuse slowly without the garlic burning.  Cook until garlic is golden and then remove from heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Strain, reserving oil and discarding solids.

Cook the spaghetti just shy of al dente and drain, reserving a little of the pasta cooking water.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and cook over medium - high heat, gently tossing the pasta with exaggerated movements using a couple of wooden spoons -  until the sauce and pasta is fully mixed. If the sauce seems too thick add a little of the pasta cooking water. Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the butter, basil and cheese.  Divide pasta among 4 plates and drizzle with basil-garlic oil.

Serves 4.

{*} Organic Romas were not available to me so I used large vine-ripened tomatoes which yielded more tomato sauce. If you prefer less sauce, go with the smaller, meatier Romas.

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Source:  Scarpetta restaurant

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