I don’t quite know what it is about a plate of pasta, but it is my most loved weekend lunch. Twirling my spaghettoni strands as the sun peeks through the window is, to me, a true picture of romance.
Perhaps I am so in love with this ritual as it makes me feel incredibly Italian. My family is well aware of my desire to live in Sicily, I adore it and am utterly enamoured with their food culture. Alas, for now I will have to settle for winsome, sunny meals like this. I suppose that isn’t so bad…
My Weekend Pasta
200g Spaghettoni (or another long, dreamy, twirly pasta. No offence to penne or the like. I just like to twirl. Barilla is my favourite brand)
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
400g tin diced Tomatoes (I like the flavour of La Gina diced tomatoes best. Or you could use 2-3 diced vine-ripened tomatoes)
1/2 a 700g bottle of Bertolli Provvista Sugo Classica (I say this brand in particular as I am yet to find another passata that surpasses it’s beautiful flavour and plump consistency)
1 big handful fresh Basil, ~10 large leaves (I like my basil)
A pinch of Sea Salt
Freshly Cracked Pepper to taste
Freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano to serve (or as good quality Parmesan you can find)
In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and sauté until fragrant and ever so lightly coloured – don’t burn it! Add in the diced tomatoes and Bertolli sugo, along with the fresh basil, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook until the sauce is bubbling, then turn it down to a gentle simmer. You are likely to have leftover sauce, and I like to use it during the week for another pasta meal or perhaps for breakfast atop toasted bread with poached eggs.
Cook your pasta in boiling salted water according to packet instructions until al dente. Overcooking your pasta is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Al dente pasta is absolutely one of the best things in the world, it totally transforms you pasta dish, so pay attention!
Divide the pasta onto two plates (or bowls) and top with the tomato, basil sauce. Finish the dish with a scattering of parmesan and more fresh basil.
With a fork and spoon in your hands, close your eyes and picture you’re sitting in a sunny, golden tinged, fruit-tree filled courtyard in Ortygia, the smell of the salty sea lingering in the air. Now twirl and enjoy this weekend delight. Happiness.