fresh tomato and spinach spaghetti . . .
It’s Sunday and we’re between Wild Card football games. I find the games a welcome diversion from whatever happens to be coming out of Washington constantly. Anyhow, I saw this recipe on the NYTimes website and thought I’d try it out for two of us. While the Baltimore Ravens were losing, I read many of the comments attached to the recipe and adapted the recipe accordingly.
At the store, instead of cherry or grape tomatoes, I bought medium size tomatoes and used four of them for my dish. I cracked a large clove of garlic, smashed it and heated it up in a rounded deep skillet filled with a little olive oil. I cut up the tomatoes after rinsing them off – and put them into the pot. As they became fragrant, I smushed them down with a spatula and added a scant teaspoon of sugar. I have found that adding a little sugar to fresh tomato softens the acidity and brings the sweet tomato flavor to the fore. I let this cook down until closer to dinnertime.
When almost ready, I zested two Meyer Lemons and added the zest to the tomato mixture. From the pantry, I added about a half teaspoon of dried basil ad the same amount of crushed red pepper.
I broke up some thin spaghetti from the box and put them into the pot while water was coming to a boil in my electric tea kettle. I added a cup and a half a of hot water to the pot and turned the heat to medium high, stirring the fragrant, bright tomato pasta mixture.
It took about ten minutes to cook al dente while stirring occasionally (I usually cook thin spaghetti for 9 minutes most of the time.) Just when it was almost cooked, I stirred in half a bag of tender baby spinach and folded it into the pasta dish. Served in our ancient Chinese pottery dishes, we liberally grated fresh parmigiano-reggiano cheese on top.
This could be considered a pasta primavera type of dish since the ingredients are all vegetables. It’s a sister dish to the one I sometimes make with sauteed zucchini and fresh mushrooms with some Ragu marinara sauce with the spaghetti. In any case, it’s a nice contrast to spaghetti and meatballs – and very convenient to put together if you have enough tomatoes on hand. The lemon zest brings a brightness to the dish – and to me, is an essential ingredient to this recipe.
Footnote: We just finished our supper and this recipe is a KEEPER!! Tasty and light – very satisfying to make and to eat!