Sunday, January 22, 2012

Scarpetta's Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Garlic Basil Oil

I stumbled upon this recipe one day and read it's a most famous dish at Scarpetta in New York City . The Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil. Apparently people pay $24 for this pasta. Obviously I'm sure mine is no where near what Scarpetta's is, but let me tell you it's the best pasta I have ever made, and each time I make it I'm so proud to know I can make something that good! This stuff is truly amazing. I could eat it every week. It is a little more time consuming than some dishes but it's so worth it. It's fresh, rich, and full of flavor. I recently read many tips from my bon appetit magazine on how to make the perfect pasta. Saving some pasta water is key! First you need to make sure your water is heavily salted. Have you ever accidentally swallowed too much salt water in the ocean as a kid? This is what your pasta water should taste like. Yes, it's true according to bon appetit! So from now on when my fiance and I cook pasta we always add a pretty hefty handful of salt to the water. It helps! It also helps loosen up the sauce, allowing it to better coat the pasta and it adds salt to the dish.  The important thing is remembering to save some of that water. And of course taste, taste, taste! Cooking pasta until just before al dente and then adding the pasta to the sauce to finish cooking is a great tip too. It absorbs more of the sauce as the noodles cook. Bon Appetit also mentioned adding oil or butter to the pasta to add in some richness and flavor. Before I read these tips, my pasta wasn't as good. So these are all very helpful pointers. This recipe is simple but as long as you pay attention and use the tips I've provided you'll be extremely satisfied!

Scarpetta's Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Garlic Basil Oil
Serves 4
20 ripe tomatoes (preferably plum tomatoes) I've used tomatoes fresh from my Mom's garden and they work great too
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of crushed red chili pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/2 cup)
6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, well washed and dried, chiffonade
1 pound spaghetti, either high-quality dry or homemade
For the Basil-Garlic Oil:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6-8 whole cloves garlic
10 whole fresh basil leaves
Generous pinch crushed red chili pepper flakes

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby. Cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato. Ease the tomatoes into the pot and boil for about 15 seconds, then promptly move them to the waiting ice water. (Continue with the remaining tomatoes.) Pull off the skin with the tip of a paring knife (I just use my fingers!)  If the skin sticks, try a vegetable peeler using a gentle sawing motion. Cut the tomatoes in half and use your finger to flick out the seeds.
2. In a wide pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until quite hot. Add the fresh tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and season lightly with the salt and pepper. (I always start with a light hand with the salt and pepper because as the tomatoes reduce, the salt will become concentrated.) Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes to soften. Then, using a potato masher, chop the tomatoes finely. I sometimes puree the tomatoes in my blender for a smoother sauce. Cook the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened. (You can make the sauce, which yields about 2-3 cups, ahead of time. Refrigerate it for up to two days or freeze it for longer storage.) After the sauce has cooked up until this point I add in some fresh grated parm and a few tablespoons of butter :)
3. While the tomatoes are cooking, make the basil-garlic oil. Heat a small saucepan over low heat with 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic cloves, basil leaves and pepper flakes. Keep the heat on low to allow the ingredients to warm slowly and release their flavors. When the garlic is lightly browned, turn heat off and let cool for 10 minutes. The longer you let the oil sit, the more infused the oil. Strain the oil, discarding the solids.
4. To cook the spaghetti, bring a large pot of amply salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until just shy of al dente and drain, reserve a little of the pasta cooking water.
5. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and cook over medium-high heat, gently tossing the pasta and the sauce together with a couple of wooden spoons and a lot of exaggerated movement (you can even shake the pan) until the pasta is just tender and the sauce, if any oil had separated from it, now looks cohesive. (If the sauce seems too thick, add a little pasta cooking liquid to adjust it.) Remove the pan from the heat and toss the butter, basil and cheese with the pasta in the same manner (the pasta should take on an orange hue). Drizzle with just a bit of the basil-garlic oil on each plate (you might not use all of it). I top off the spaghetti with even more butter, cheese, and basil! Enjoy!

 My table setting, the flowers are made by a friend that I used for a Trash the Dress Photo Shoot and the burlap and wooden Bride and Groom heart is from my Wedding
 The homemade pasta! It's so easy all you need is flour and eggs, and a pasta roller. I would not recommend rolling by hand like some sites say, I tried it and it did not turn out well. Isn't it beautiful though?
Sauce in the works..
What a difference homemade pasta makes!!! I never want to eat store bought ever again!

Thanks to my Mom over at Town and Country Living  for taking these amazing photos!!!

Source: Steamy Kitchen adapted from Scott Conant and Scarpetta's
As Seen On: I Heart Nap Time


Jennifer Zuri @ Aquascape Your Landscape said...

Glad to hear the tomatoes from my garden worked for you. I'll be canning tomatoes and spaghetti sauce this weekend. :)

glutinous pig said...

I cannot wait to make this for dinner! Yummy!!!! ;-)

Susan-The Weekly Sweet Experiment said...

They are great photos. Looks yummy!

Bridget said...

Thanks Susan! I need to invest in one of these cameras, they make a world of a difference and I think I can get more followers if I had one!

Julie @White Lights on Wednesday said...

This pasta dish sounds amazing! So nice to find another tattooed blogged who like Top Chef. :) Thanks for inviting me over. I can't wait to start checking out all your recipes.

tiffany said...

looks yummy!

Holly said...

I'm coming over from your moms blog.... your pasta looks AMAZING!
Holly @ Down to Earth Style

T's Daily Treasures said...

Yum, yum, yum! I bet my kids would have much preferred this over that jar of Prego I served them today. :/ By the way, I'm popping over from your mom's blog. Hope you are having a great day. Tammy

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