Tuesday, April 23, 2013

52 Meals: Scarpetta's Spaghetti

52 Meals, is a weekly Sunday dinner challenge. Each Monday I'll be sharing our Sunday dinner, complete with pictures, recipes, and tips for making cooking at home fun and easy. 
This week's meal: Scarpetti's Spaghetti. 

Inspired by: Spring! We wanted something light and fresh, but I was also really in the mood for Italian. This light and quick spaghetti dish is the perfect antithesis to last week's all-day cook-fest: Sunday Ragu. 
The secret: This is a simple dish, so it's vital to use the best ingredients you can get your hands on. Add the basil-garlic oil at the table just before serving. 

The Recipe:

Tomato-Basil Sauce
28-ounce can of organic tomatoes (I use Whole Foods 365 diced tomatoes for everything) 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of crushed red chili pepper flakes
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 lb spaghetti (use a high quality organic -- Trader Joe's makes an awesome organic pasta)
1/2 cup of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (get the real stuff for this) 
5/6 fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp butter

For the Basil-Garlic Oil:1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8-10 garlic cloves, crushed
10/12 fresh basil leaves
Crushed red chili pepper flakes (about a heavy pinch)

Cook the Basil-Garlic oil first. Add all ingredients to a saucepan and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside for 30 minutes to cool. Strain the solids out, leaving the flavored oil. 

Cook the sauce: Add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to a heavy pot, heat until just before the smoke point. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and red chili pepper flakes. Lower the heat and cook the tomatoes until most of the moisture has been removed. 

While the sauce is cooking; boil a large pot of water. Cook the pasta al dente and drain. Add the cooked pasta and the two tbsp butter to the tomato sauce. Cook on low heat for 1 minute, mixing to combine. 

Plate the pasta, drizzle the hot oil on top, sprinkle parmigiana-reggiano and cracked black pepper on top. 

  • Use good ingredients!
  • Serve with a simple protein like grilled or breaded chicken, pork, or sausage. 
  • This is a great vegetarian meal. Make it vegan by eliminating the butter and cheese. 
The Verdict: This is super addictive. Its one of those things that has no business being as good as it is. It's a great quick meal and a great crowd pleaser. It's also a fantastic weeknight meal! 

Time in the Kitchen: 45 Minutes total

Difficulty: 2 out of 5