Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Scott Conant did a stint on the No Reservations techniques special, explaining how to make the perfect tomato sauce/perfect spaghetti. It is, no surprises, easily the best tomato sauce I've ever made. Want some?
Boiled down (no pun intended), here are the instructions:
Blanche a lot of tomatoes. Pull the skin off. Squeeze the tomatoes to remove the seeds and extra juices. Save some extra juice in case your tomatoes get dry later. (Side note for when you're lazy and it's winter so the fresh tomatoes aren't all that good anyway: you can use canned peeled tomatoes here. Scott Conant would slap me I'm sure, but if you're pressed for time and don't have fresh tomatoes on hand, these work. Just add some white wine to the sauce to cover up your cheap canned tomatoes, you slacker.**) Stick tomatoes in a hot pan with EVOO; add salt. Mash tomatoes up.
In a separate pot over low flame, add lots of garlic, lots of fresh basil and a little crushed red pepper to olive oil to make a "tea."
Add now-infused olive oil (leave the garlic + basil out) to tomato sauce.
Make spaghetti - only 90% of the way done.
Here's the important part: set some of the tomato sauce in a pan. Add the mostly-cooked spaghetti and a little of its starchy water to thicken the sauce. Add a pat of butter. Cook it the rest of the way in the sauce, flipping it in the air a little (confession: I have yet to master this). The flipping in the air aerates it and makes the dish lighter and creamier; the cooking the pasta the rest of the way in the sauce means the sauce is absorbed some into the spaghetti so they're one dish instead of just sopping wet sauce scooped on top.
**Note: I've used canned tomatoes in this several times. Not amazing like fresh, but still makes a better (and cheaper!) sauce than premade. Just sayin'.