Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating
As most of you know, I like to eat. I also love pasta and my biggest issue has always been eyeballing the measurements for a single serving. No matter how hard I try, and yes, I’ve used those stupid gadgets that are supposed to measure spaghetti. They lie about it being an actual serving for ONE. Or, if they think that’s a serving for ONE, it’s not a big enough serving for ME.
Sometimes, I’m forced to eat alone, which is another one of my problems. I seem to have many, right?
It’s not that I don’t like BEING alone, I just hate “EATING ALONE”. I have this shtick about never eating in a restaurant alone, with the exception of last year when I went to visit my niece at her home in Quogue, NY.
I spent the most part of the week all by myself, while the family was in the city working. I have to say, it was very relaxing, with the one exception of the “EATING ALONE” part. The majority of the time, I picked up food at local eateries and took it back to the house. Only once did I actually head out to a small café to order a meal and sit at a table ALONE.
The only way I could get through the entire meal was with my Ipad and a good stiff drink of cranberry and soda. For some reason, I always feel like everyone is staring at me when I’m seated like a lonely loser in a restaurant. Oh, don’t take this the wrong way. There’s nothing weird about being alone or a loser. I JUST DON’T LIKE IT and I swear that other diners are watching me AND feeling sorry for me. Probably not true and they couldn’t care less.
Anyways, this pasta dish was one example of a single meal that was supposed to be just for me. Take a look at this plate. Does this look like one person could finish this? No. It was sufficient enough to satisfy 4 – 6 “normal” people. I just happen to have finished three quarters of this dish BY MYSELF. I mean, once you start twirling those noodles, how are you expected to stop?
The recipe was made with our garden tomatoes, which are currently in full bloom due to the obnoxious amount of rain we have been getting here. I also loved adding the fresh basil into this dish, the fragrance is intoxicating. The marinara sauce was a no-brainer, it literally took me 10 minutes to throw together. All in all, a wonderful meal to serve at my table for one.
SPAGHETTINI WITH ROASTED TOMATOES, FRESH BASIL AND LIGHT MARINARA SAUCE
FOR THE SAUCE - 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - 2 garlic cloves, minced - 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes - ½ teaspoon kosher salt - 1 teaspoon sugar - ⅛ teaspoon fresh black pepper
ROASTED TOMATOES - 2 cups small cherry tomatoes - 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - 2 large cloves of garlic, smashed - sea salt - freshly ground black pepper
SPAGHETTINI - 12 oz (350g) package fresh spaghettini pasta - ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, plus a few more for garnishing - freshly grated parmigiano cheese, for garnish
1) Make your sauce first by heating a medium size saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil to the pan, allowing it to warm for 1 minute, then add the garlic and sauté it for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until it's golden brown and fragrant (watch that it doesn't burn). 2) Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar, stirring to combine. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then season it with additional salt, pepper or sugar, to taste. 3) While the sauce is simmering, preheat your oven to 450F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Rinse the tomatoes and pat them dry. 4) Place the tomatoes and smashed garlic cloves on a parchment lined large baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread them out on the baking sheet. Roast the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping them every 5 to 10 minutes or so, until they are soft and they begin to burst. 5) While the tomatoes finish roasting, boil the dried pasta until done (about 3-4 minutes if you are using fresh pasta). Add the fresh basil leaves to the pasta water just before the spaghettini is cooked. 6) Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Place the pasta back into the pot and add in the marinara sauce. 7) Add the warm, roasted tomatoes and toss gently. Add reserved pasta water a little at a time to thicken the sauce, if necessary. 8) Garnish each pasta serving with additional basil and a sprinkling of parmigiano cheese.