Monday, September 6, 2010

Fresh Tomato Sauce & Fettucini

There's a local restaurant here in Richmond that I absolutely love; Edo Squid's. Typical of most of my favorite restaurants; I get the same dish every time I go. This particular dish is very simple. It's called spaghetti with marinara. It always comes out piping hot and has plenty of flavor, which consists mostly of garlic. Lately, most of the jarred marinara I get from the grocery stores just haven't been doing it for me. So, I've been wanting to find a recipe that resembles Edo's marinara. I found it. Thanks to my mom trying it while visiting her sister. She told me about this recipe she made out of one of our favorite cookbooks; The New Best Recipe. She thought it was better than Edo Squid's version, so I had to try it. The verdict is in and I have to say it very much resembles Edo's. I think I would have to make it again to determine if it surpasses Edo's version. But, it was very delicious and flavorful. My only complaint; there wasn't enough juice to soak up with my bread. I think this is because I incorporated the fettucini in the sauce as opposed to just pouring the sauce on top of the fettucini. Normally, I would use spaghetti, but I wanted to get rid of my fettucini. Please try was very good!

2 pounds tomatoes - You are allowed to use any tomato as long as it's ripe and flavorful. I just used the cheapest, which was Roma tomatoes.
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh Basil, chopped
Salt to taste

The New Best Recipe has a very long explanation on why you have to boil the tomatoes. Just do as they say, they're never wrong. :)
Prepare the tomatoes by taking out the core, and then place about 5 at a time into a pot of boiling water for about 20 seconds. Remove and immediately place into a bowl filled with ice water. Don't fill it up too high otherwise when you put the tomatoes in; the water will spill onto the countertop. I learned this the hard way. Once you are finished with the tomatoes, take a pairing knife and gingerly slice the skin off of the tomatoes. The Cook Illustrated authors suggest dipping the paring knife into the ice bath before slicing the skin off. They think it's easier to slice the tomato this way. I'm not so sure it helped all that much. The cookbook suggests cutting the tomatoes in half and removing seeds. I did this, but then cut again into quarters.

In a decent size skillet; place the 2 cloves into 2 tbsp olive oil over about medium-low heat and saute...but do not brown the cloves. Turn up the heat to medium-high and place the tomatoes into skillet and cook for about 10 minutes until the tomato juices dissolved. I wasn't entirely sure if the tomato juices had dissolved. But, after about 12 minutes I figured it was safe to turn the heat back down to warm, add the basil and salt to taste, and cover the skillet with a lid and cook for about 20 minutes. At this point I set up my pot to boil my pasta.

The Cook Illustrated author suggests that if you are using penne then this version works great. However, if you are using a fettucini or spaghetti then they suggest pureeing the sauce in a blender or food processor. I pureed about half the sauce, because I wanted some chunks in the marinara. Perhaps I should have pureed the entire batch as this probably would have made it more juicy. Add the pasta and stir together to incorporate. I also would have preferred just pouring the sauce over the pasta instead of dumping the entire pasta into the sauce. It was an excellent recipe.

(Click here for printable recipe)

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