weekend is coming to an end! was supposed to go to a death metal show, but instead thinking about a kleenex ad and the history of roman script. as interesting as they are, i think metal studs and long hair would’ve been a better way to spend a sunday night.
when i’m busy, lots of pasta gets eaten. on a search for a delicious and go-to simple tomato sauce recipe, i had to try scott conant’s much talked about sauce! he recently opened up another Scarpetta in the Thompson Hotel, which apparently is so-so but charges $23 for his small-ish bowl of spaghetti. for this reason i decided to try making it at home.
it turned out very very well! but when a whole bunch of flavoured olive oil is added to fresh tomatoes and finished with a few knobs of butter… could it be bad? i followed the recipe kinda closely… not really, but the biggest change i made was blending the tomatoes, since i wanted a sauce which was richer and smoother, and i think this was a good idea.
Scott Conant’s Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato Sauce & Basil
About 20 ripe plum tomatoes
About 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to finish the dish
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/2 cup)
6-8 fresh basil leaves, well washed and dried, stacked and rolled into a cylinder and cut thinly crosswise into a chiffonade
1 lb. spaghetti, either high-quality dry or homemade
Step 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 about five tomatoes in the pot and cook, let boil for about 15 seconds, and then promptly move them to the waiting ice water. (Do this with the remaining tomatoes.) Pull off the skin with the tip of a paring knife. 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.
Step 2: In a wide pan, heat the 1/3 cup of olive oil over medium-high heat until quite hot. Add the 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. Cook the tomatoes for 20-25 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened. (You can make the sauce, which yields about 3 cups, ahead of time. Refrigerate it for up to 2 days or freeze it for longer storage.)
Step 3: Bring a large pot of amply salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until just shy of al dente. Reserve a little of the pasta cooking water. Add the 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.) Take the pan off of the heat and toss the butter, basil and cheese with the pasta in the same manner (the pasta should take on an orange hue) and serve immediately.