I’m no foodie.
Not into exotic ingredients.
Or trying things I can’t pronounce.
I really have to exert quite a bit of effort to make recipes work.
I think it’s because I’m stick-to-a-recipe-challenged.
Yeah, that’s definitely it.
I always think substitutions and shortcuts will work out.
Most often, they do not.
But I’m no quitter.
Last night I made a pasta dish that was scrumptious,
and thought I’d share the recipe,
along with my stick-to-a-recipe-challenged substitutions and shortcuts.
Awhile back I tore a page out of my People magazine that featured a pasta recipe adapted from Scarpetta restaurant in Miami. The article said Beyonce and Jay-Z loved this dish, so I figured if famous people like it, it must be good. The headline said "best pasta ever!"
Here’s my adaptation of this adapted recipe:
Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Basil
- 1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil (I skipped this, see note on plum tomatoes)
- 20 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, halved and seeded (Woah. After peeling the first little tomato, I realized I didn’t allow enough time or patience for this step. Emergency Substitution: a few cans of diced tomatoes)
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (Great Value iodized table salt worked just fine. Just sayin’)
- 1 TBS unsalted butter (Oh man. Well I already used the wrong salt, so what’s a little more salt added to the mix?)
- 1 oz freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, about 1 cup (“fresh” means 'use by the expiration date printed on the jar', right?)
- 6 to 8 fresh basil leaves (Oh shoot…my basil is buried under a foot of snow. A few shakes of dried flakes from the spice bottle did the trick)
- 1 lb spaghetti (or a generous fistful)
Now just follow my instructions. Or not.
- Throw the diced tomatoes in a skillet, juice and all. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or so. Give it a good stir once in awhile so it doesn’t scorch. The goal is to thicken it a bit.
- Cook up the spaghetti until almost al dente. Drain. Keep some of the noodle water for step 3.
- Mix the sauce and noodles together. Cook a little bit longer, until the noodles are done to your liking. Add a smidge of the cooking water if sauce is too thick. That was a tip from the recipe – I thought it was such a clever idea.
- Remove from heat. Toss in butter (Um, I don't remember adding the butter yesterday so I guess it's ok to leave it out if you want to), basil and cheese. What the heck, toss in the whole jar of cheese while you’re at it. Hey, I’m a Cheesehead baby.
I'm naming this dish
Second Best Pasta Ever: Spaghetti with Canned Tomato Sauce and Dried Basil
If you're not stick-to-a-recipe-challenged (HOW do you DO it?)
and would like the original adaptation of this recipe,
just let me know and I’ll get it to you.
I can only imagine how delicious this dish is
when the recipe’s stuck-to.