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Perfect pasta

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Sep. 18th, 2006 | 10:02 pm

I think I can now basically make perfect pasta sauce. The down side to this is that now when I go out to restaurants, unless they are good Italian places in Italy, I tend to wonder why I'm paying so much money to get something that's not as good as I make at home. Anyway, here's one pasta sauce recipe, more or less. See I can't tell you the exact recipe because I never actually measure anything, but I can give you the general idea...

Ingredients:

Puree tomatoes. Forget that pre-made tomato sauce with stuff in, start from first principles.

Olive oil.

Honey. You need something to sweeten it a bit and I find that a honey with a mild flavour works well.

Onions, if you want. Amazingly, you can make a real nice sauce with just the three things above.

A tin of tuna works well with this.

EDIT: I forgot one thing, lemon juice. Add some lemon juice. Trust me.

Method:

Get a big pot with high sides. Stick the oil in. If you're doing onions, chop them up and fry them until they start to turn a little transparent. Stick the tomato puree in and add the lemon juice. Now bring it to the boil. It will start to go "plop-plop" and little bits of the puree with be leaping out of the pot and onto the walls. Good. Keep it boiling like that, but don't burn it or anything too drastic. Stir it from time to time. At some point add some honey so that it's very slightly sweet. If you taste it at this point it will still taste a bit bitter from the tomatoes, that fine. After a while the puree will reduce (and probably make your walls dirty) and stop going "plop-plop" and start making quick little bubbles without leaping out of the pot. Good. This is after something like 15 minutes I'd guess.

At this point you'll need to stir it a bit from time to time and it will start to get thicker and start to get slightly darker too. Make sure that there is enough olive oil so that the sauce is just very slightly oily. Keep on frying it. It's the frying that gives it a really good flavour as it makes the tomato caramelise slightly and gives it a sweet and very slightly smoky taste. The key thing now is knowing when to stop. You want to stop when it's thick enough to be pushed into one side of the pot and never flow back. Maybe even a bit more than that. Now take it off the heat. At this point I'd recommend adding a tin of tuna. Just drop the tuna into the hot sauce and mush it around a bit. Done.

I eat it with spaghetti. Italians claim that every different kind of pasta holds the sauce a different way and this all really important. I think they're delusional.

It might sound like a lot of work, but really it's not. Most of the time you can just leave it to reduce away while it's going plop-plop and making a mess all over your kitchen. If you get it right you should get a slightly oily sauce that's fairly thick, with a deep rich slightly sweet taste and a hint of bitterness. I eat exactly the above dish (sans onions because I didn't have any) about half an hour ago and can still taste the rich flavour in the back of my mouth.

I think the combination of the olive oil, plus some sweetener and frying it are what makes the magic happen. I watched part II of The Godfather movie the other week and sure enough, there was a scene about halfway through the movie where somebody cooking pasta sauce explains this very technique.

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Comments {7}

Psychology is my Boyfriend

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from: radiantsun
date: Sep. 18th, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
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Wow, and he's domesticated too!!!

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mathemajician

(no subject)

from: mathemajician
date: Sep. 18th, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC)
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One day I will make a high power career woman a good house husband.

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Psychology is my Boyfriend

(no subject)

from: radiantsun
date: Sep. 18th, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC)
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LOL. Okay, but you gotta know more than how to cook spaghetti. How well do you clean? Is clean having objects in their place, or using disinfectants everywhere?

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mathemajician

(no subject)

from: mathemajician
date: Sep. 18th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC)
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Hmmm... I'm not sure.

But sometimes I like to wear a maid's outfit.

Does that count?

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Psychology is my Boyfriend

(no subject)

from: radiantsun
date: Sep. 18th, 2006 09:31 pm (UTC)
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Um . . . only if your Mistress is okay with it.

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mathemajician

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from: mathemajician
date: Sep. 18th, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
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I think it's something that we will need to sit down and talk about together.

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Nerissa

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from: nerissacm
date: Sep. 18th, 2006 11:47 pm (UTC)
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Now *I* want some pasta. *hungry*
Thanks for the recipe, I'll have to try it some time =)

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