Friday, January 22, 2010

Try, Try Again: Part Two, or Redemption

So, the red wine marinara debacle just whet my appetite for more homemade pasta. I continued my search for a simple red sauce for the pasta and stumbled across this recipe for spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce and garlic basil oil over at Steamy Kitchen. There was definite potential in that recipe, so we invited Hannah and Rob over to sample the dish with us.

As usually happens, making dinner took infinitely longer than I expected. Like, two hours longer. I usually think these things through like "well, all I need to do is make the tomato sauce and then whip up that homemade pasta. that should only take me about 45 minutes." Yeah, I'm pretty sure there's no logic involved in my time management skills. Welcome to the cause of 74% of my arguments with Sam.
So I started the sauce. The first step is to blanch some tomatoes. I have never blanched a tomato, and let me tell you, they were so beautiful (post-blanch) I thought I could cry.

And the skins came off so easily. It was lovely. Then I tossed them into a hot pan with some canned tomatoes and let the sauce go to work. I started getting worried when I realized the sauce was pretty much just tomatoes, but, in the end, my concerns were unfounded. The sauce reduced rather efficiently, and then it was time for the pasta.
Hannah was nice enough to cut the pasta with me (we used Pioneer Woman's directions again), and this time we pulled out the pasta maker my mom gave me for Christmas two years ago. (Of course, I haven't taken a picture of it. Why would I want to assist you in creating a mental image?) I've used the contraption three times, I think, and it proves to make much more uniform pasta than haphazardly rolling a pizza cutter along the dough. It does, however, take longer. But I think (hope?) Hannah didn't mind helping me feed the dough through the cutters.
Once the pasta was mostly cooked, I threw it in with the sauce and felt rather silly as I tossed it around with two wooden spoons (apparently this helps incorporate air into the dish). But I did it with feigned confidence-- like I knew what I was doing-- and it came together so beautifully. The cheese, butter, and basil came last, with a drizzle of the heavenly garlic basil oil.

I'm pretty sad to say this is the only picture I took of the finished dish:

As the recipe says, the pasta isn't over-sauced. It's a light tomato sauce, but the flavors are intense, particularly when complemented by the garlic basil oil. Oh, and that oil. Good heavens, that stuff was amazing. You steep garlic and basil in olive oil for at least 20 minutes (I steeped it for four hours), and the smell will send you to the moon. Drizzled over the pasta, it is just the punch you need to make pasta with tomato sauce exciting. And, now, having made the dish with homemade pasta, and I can't imagine making it with store-bought. Homemade pasta is so hearty. The texture is more rustic and it is much more satisfyingly filling. Everyone should make homemade pasta at least once in their lives. It's well worth the time commitment.

This dish may just be my favorite thing in the world right now. I'm scheming to make it again this week while my mom is visiting-- and then maybe again when my sister visits next month. It's just that good.


  1. Have you ever tried one of those no cook sauces where you let fresh chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt/pepper, and olive oil just sit together for a couple of hours? The you toss it with some hot pasta and add some delicious cheese and you're done? It's one of my favs. Great for summer. Your recipe reminded me of it a bit. I think I'll have to try it.

    Also, I'm very pleased to know that you know one of my favorite people (Hannah). Did you know Rob and Hannah back in the Provo days? Am I just forgetting? Small, wonderful world!

    And yes, someday I will try to make pasta--you've inspired me. Do you make/have you tried whole-grain pasta?

  2. YUM. YUM. YUM.
    Oh - and a few years ago Amy told me I had virtually no time management skills. Perhaps it's genetic???
    (When I come visit will you stuff me with delicious Italian food??)

  3. Oh Josephine, I am so intrigued by that idea! I will definitely try it soon. That does sound like such a lovely summer dish. Why does it have to be winter right now?
    Also, last time I made pasta I tossed in a little whole wheat flour, and I thought it was great. I'll probably experiment with adding more. But I am all about making things whole-grainy.
    And lastly, Hannah was in my (and Sam's) singles ward back in the day. Small Mormon world, no?

    Lindsay-- yes. Come visit me, and I will feed you until you are positively bursting at the seams.