Of all of pasta sauces that I prepare in the kitchen, whether handed down through the family or “invented” through my own experimentation, there is one exception. That is the sauce taught to me by my college friend Marco Fiorito many years ago when he came through Houston. Marco was born and raised in Italy and the sauce he made from me that night had been taught to him by his father.
Even after all of these years it still amazes me that sometimes the best recipes and most satisfying meals are those that have the fewest ingredients, are the easiest to prepare and require the least amount of time. From start to finish this sauce requires less than 30 minutes to prepare and you are eating shortly thereafter.
- 28 Ounce Can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes
- Olive Oil
- Salt to Taste
- 6 – 9 Fresh Basil Leaves
- 2 Fresh Hot Chili Peppers or 1 Teaspoon of Sambal or a Heavy Pinch of Dried Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- 1 Pound of Pasta (your personal choice)
- Grated Italian Cheese (Romano or Parmesan)
- With a knife rough dice / chop the whole peeled tomatoes, saving all of the contents in the can (do not drain off the liquid).
- Peel the garlic cloves and slit the fresh hot chili peppers, but keep them whole.
- Heat a large deep skillet on High, drizzle in the olive and when hot add the garlic cloves and salt. You want to brown the outside of the garlic cloves, but do not burn them.
- Just before the garlic cloves have turned golden brown, add the chilis and move the skillet off of the hot burner.
- Add the diced / chopped contents of the whole peeled tomatoes to the skillet and place back on the hot burner, stirring all of the ingredients together and bring to a boil. Once the sauce has boiled, drop the temperature to Medium-Low
- On a second stove burner, begin heating a large pot of water seasoned with salt on High.
- You are looking to evaporate about half of the liquid and the time required, 10 – 20 minutes will depend on the original thickness of the liquid contents of the can of the whole peeled tomatoes. Stir the sauce every few minutes. Once you have achieved the desired consistency, remove the skillet from the heat.
- When the large pot of water has come to a boil, add your pasta, following the instructions to cook the pasta “el dente”.
- When the pasta has been cooked and has been drained, take the basil leaves in a stack and with a kitchen scissor cut them into small strips directly into the pasta sauce.
- Turn the stove onto high, place the skillet of sauce back on the burner and add the drained cooked pasta to the skillet and fully mix all of the ingredients together.
- Serve the pasta topped with grated cheese and enjoy.
This dish is such a simple meal to be enjoyed with the rough chunks of whole peeled tomatoes combined with the fresh basil and the slight heat of the chilies. It is a pasta dish that is full of freshness and flavor that requires very little time and is superior to anything you can purchase in the grocery store. As Marco said to me, it is one of those go to meals for a bachelor, easy to make, little time required and with few ingredients. I agree with him and will add that whether cooked for one (with leftovers), for two or a family of four it is a great meal.
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