"Then Strega Nona sang: Enough, enough, pasta pot! I have my pasta, nice and hot. So simmer down my pot of clay, until I'm hungry another day..."
- An Old Tale Retold by Tomie de PaolaIf you made the homemade tomato sauce from a few postings ago, you'll hardly work at all to put this meal on the table. Just take out a few containers of sauce from the freezer, place them in a deep fry pan with a bit of chicken or vegetable broth, then grab a big pot and heat up some pasta water.
For years, whenever I cooked pasta and sauce, I would boil my pasta, drain it, (sometimes rinse it - a definite "no-no"), plate it up and then ladle hot sauce on the top. I thought it was pretty good this way, until I learned this technique.
You are going to cook your pasta in hot, salted water drizzled with a bit of olive oil, for about 5 minutes, no more. It should be undercooked, even a bit crunchy to the bite. Your sauce should be simmering, hot and seasoned.
Using kitchen tongs or a "spider", remove the pasta from the water, immediately placing it right into the simmering sauce.If you get a little pasta water in there, that's fine, it actually flavors it nicely. The pasta will continue to finish cooking in the sauce, and seems to absorb the flavors of the tomato and basil. It also takes on a silky texture, and is so delicious. Just be sure not to overcook your pasta, keep "taste-testing" until it's ready. Also make sure your ratio of pasta to sauce will be about even. You don't want to make soup!
Serve it up with freshly grated cheese, a bit of fresh basil, some crusty bread, and a crisp iceberg salad. A fun book to read at your table tonight is Strega Nona, an old tale which originated in Italy. If you want to mimic the story, use spaghetti as your pasta choice!
Enjoy your dinner, and this story!