Monday, May 2, 2011

Spaghetti in Tomato Apple Sauce

Having a good basic pasta sauce included in your cooking repertoire is key to being able to whip up a quick meal when you've just realized you've forgotten, somehow, yet again, that dinner is a meal that happens nightly and, oh yeah, you're the one who plans/shops for/cooks/eats it.

Don't misunderstand me, there's nothing wrong with keeping a few jars of your favorite store-bought sauce in the pantry. I have a few in my own. But sometimes you might want something a little fresher tasting. A sauce with an ingredient list that doesn't include the words "dehydrated" or "natural flavor", but does include apples.


Yes! Trust me.

Spaghetti con salsa di Pomodorie e Mele
Spaghetti in Tomato Apple Sauce
Adapted from Lidia's Italy

This sauce is great because it cooks up so quickly and tastes so fresh. Apples may seem a strange ingredient, but shredded, they create a really great texture, feel and flavor.

3 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 - 3 large celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound apples, tart & firm, such as Granny Smith
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly grated

1) Pour canned tomatoes into food processor or blender and puree until smooth

2) Heat olive oil in large skillet or pot set over medium heat. Add the chopped celery and onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until they soften.

3) Stir in the pureed tomatoes, season with salt, and heat to a bubbling simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or so. As the tomatoes cook, peel and core the apples, remove the seeds and shred with a grater.

4) Stir the apples into the sauce. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the apple shreds are cooked and tender.

5) As the sauce simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the spaghetti until just about al dente. Drain the pasta and then place it into the simmering sauce. Toss the pasta until all the strands are coated and perfectly al dente (or cooked to your liking). Sprinkle with grated cheese and toss well.

6) Serve, passing more cheese at the table.

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