This weekend Brian and I were in Pennsylvania for a friend’s wedding. After drinking our fair share of champagne and eating out for two days at various restaurants and hotels, we were more than ready for a home-cooked Sunday night meal. On the train, on our way back to New York, I asked Brian what he would like to have for dinner (in hopes that his current state of inactivity was the perfect moment to address the topic of food). He responded, “Why don’t we have your tomato pasta?”. An idea has never been so well received! Images of perfectly al dente pasta coated in a simple tomato sauce and liberally garnished with fresh Parmigiano cheese appeared to me, and further discussions of what to have for dinner seemed superfluous.
My mom’s tomato sauce recipe is both a personal favorite and a favorite of my two sisters and dad. There is something about the combination of semolina pasta, tomato, garlic, and Parmigiano that is utterly satisfying (so much so that I can barely put my fork down, or restrain from going back for seconds). Despite my affection for Mario Batali’s ‘Beef Cheek Ravioli’ at Babbo, I often prefer more plebian pasta preparations. This tomato sauce does not take hours to cook, nor does it even require fresh tomatoes. It doesn’t even necessitate a trip to the grocery store, as it contains items that most people have in their pantry or in their refrigerator. And if you make too much, don’t worry—it keeps well in the freezer and can be used in various other recipes, including as a base for vegetable or lentil soups.
I could include the recipe here, but in this case I will direct you to my sister’s blog. She posted the recipe a few months ago and I only have a few notes to add. First off, use Pomì brand chopped tomatoes if you can get your hands on a box. Pomì’s tomatoes taste great and they don’t add citric acid. Secondly, always use fresh garlic if you have it and use good quality semolina or whole wheat pasta (I prefer DeCecco brand or Bionaturae (if I am making whole wheat)). Lastly, after cooking my pasta, I drain it in a colander and then return it to the pot in which I cooked the pasta (this ensure that my pasta stays hot). I like to coat the pasta in a touch of butter and some olive oil, and then either toss it with the sauce or let people add the sauce themselves.
Question of the day: What are your go-to pasta recipes?