My five year old daughter and I seem to be on this endless quest to make the perfect spaghetti. She prods me along by asking me to make her “noodle pasta”, whenever, yes whenever, I ask her what she would like to have for dinner.
Quest for the Perfect Spaghetti Dinner
At its core this is very simple. Boil the spaghetti with a bit of salt till it is just right and drain it. Toss with a bit of olive oil and serve at once. The sauce is made with olive oil, maybe a bit of ghee with sautéed onions, garlic, herbs, optional vegetables and olives, tomatoes… a pinch of red chili or a dash of tabasco… This is also no miraculous feat. But the variations and combinations are endless. A minute longer and the pasta is too mushy. Too little tabasco and my daughter complains “Appa I can’t feel the tabasco”. The sauce has to be thick enough to adhere to the spaghetti. The vegetables have to be … you get the drift.
Whole wheat or organic spaghetti – 1 lb
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 4 tbs
Chopped Sweet Onions – 1/2 cup
Minced garlic – 2 cloves (optional)
Available fresh or dry herbs – 1 sprig each or 1 pinch each
Fresh mint leaves
Fresh sage, thyme or mint
Cherry or grape tomatoes – 12 optional
Chopped Ripe Tomato or organic spaghetti Sauce – 2 cups
Salt and Pepper – to taste
Dry Red Chili flakes – 1/4 tsp
Tabasco Sauce – to taste
Sauté sweet onions or shallots in olive oil in a large heavy pan. Add garlic and the herbs when the onions clear. You can add a few pine nuts or cooked edamame or other beans (1/4 cup). Slice black or green olives. Add the cherry tomatoes. Saute till the tomato skins split. Add the chopped tomato or your favorite spaghetti sauce from a jar and stir. Simmer covered for 5 min and serve over fresh, al-dente spaghetti.
You can add diced green or red capsicum peppers, a bit of jalapeño, celery, bok-choy, or even sautéed tofu. Let your tastes and mood and available ingredients dictate your path. Serve a few crisp stir-fried or steamed vegetables of your choice (fresh snap peas, spinach, asparagus, carrots, bok-choy, and grate some sharp vegetarian cheese. Add a wine.