My mother went into surgery yesterday. She had a complete right hip replacement.
This inspired me to make one of her all time classics, Spaghetti con Sugo Rosso. Literally, Spaghetti with Red Sauce. Why? Because this is her idea of comfort food, because when she first started to learn how to cook she was living in Rome. The city where I was later born.
In her honor, I’ll be starting a series of recipes called “A Table“, which in French means “come to the table”, but its meaning is the same as “dinner is served”.
Our family loves food and this is definitely one of our go to recipes. This is a really simple recipe but also very flavorful. However, it does require a little elbow grease… you’ll see.
1/2 onion chopped finely
2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium cans peeled tomatoes
5-6 leaves of fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a sauce pan heat up your olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add in your onions and make them sweat until golden. Add in your smashed but still whole cloves of garlic. Cook the garlic on medium heat. You want the garlic to cook and infuse the oil with its aromas.
Now for the muscle part of the recipe. You will need a food mill, or as we like to call it, a passa pomodoro. Pass your tomatoes through the food mill, letting the juices and puree fall directly into your sauce pan. I like to cut my tomatoes into chunks that are more manageable, but my mother passes them through whole. Some brands of peeled tomato also come in a chunk variety, so it’s up to you. Passing the tomatoes through the food mill helps to produce a really fine puree, but also has the added benefit of removing the seeds. It took me a while to pass the two cans through the mill, so I think this part of the recipe depends on how fit you are. I am obviously not very. 😉
Add your fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Let your sauce reduce on gentle heat, with no cover on the pan. Stir regularly. This takes anywhere between 30-45 minutes depending on your desired consistency. Before serving on your favorite fresh pasta, fish out the garlic cloves and the basil leaves. You want them there for their aroma while cooking, but don’t need to bite into chunks of cooked garlic or basil.
Serve on top of your favorite pasta. For a classic tomato sauce, I recommend spaghetti or rigatoni. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil, or with a generous grating of fresh parmesan. Serves 6-8 depending on how much sauce you like on your pasta.
P.S. Pomi makes a ready made strained tomato product, which I used to use in college. Not exactly the same, but close.