Friday, August 6, 2010

Back to the Basics

Sometimes it's the simple things . . . Sure, a recipe that requires French translation sounds impressive, but it may not always be on the mark.  Depending on your audience (beautiful dining partner), your efforts may be lost in translation.

Over the next few weeks, I'm focusing my work on simple meals.  Stay tuned for more quick and easy meals on my site, along with a few forthcoming articles that I've written for your favorite publications.  For those of you looking for something more complicated, just scroll through the last few months of posts, and I'm sure you will find meals to satisfy your palate, and your time.

When most people think of summertime, high humidity, and three-digit temperatures, the last meal they typically consider is a satisfying bowl of spaghetti.  After all, that's comfort food, right?

Wrong.  The following recipe is light, fresh, healthy, and easy.  

Somewhere along the Atkins Diet craze, people decided that eating pasta was akin to killing your neighbor's dog.  Sure, it's not the greatest thing to slurp up a bowl of noodles and sit on your ass, but then again, when has it ever been good to be a gluttonous sloth? (College Football weekends aside)  In this case, I've gone with a high fiber pasta that's lower on the glycemic index (carbs) than your traditional variety.  Of course, whole grain or wheat pasta could also be used.

The main rule of using fresh, quality ingredients is even more important in a recipe that requires so few items.  In other words, choose your ingredients wisely.  With that said, this meal is still easy on the wallet.

Simple. Easy. Cheap - oh là là.


Summertime Spaghetti
10 - 12 oz Barilla Plus Spaghetti
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Large (28 oz) Can Whole Peeled Tomatoes, preferably San Marzano variety
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
6 - 8 Fresh Basil Leaves
Crumbled Feta Cheese

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add garlic and saute until tender, careful not to brown.  While tilting the pan away from you, add the entire contents of the canned tomatoes to the pan.  Using the back of a wooden spoon, break apart the whole tomatoes.  Season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.  Reduce heat to medium and allow sauce to simmer and reduce while the pasta is cooking.  Add pasta to boiling water and cook until just under al dente, about 8 minutes.  Using tongs, remove pasta from the boiling water, draining off excess water, and add to the sauce.  Toss the pasta thoroughly in the sauce to coat the spaghetti and finish cooking, about 1 - 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Carefully stack, roll, and slice the basil leaves into long thin strips, or chiffonade.  Add a generous portion of the pasta and sauce to each serving plate.  Top with crumbled feta and fresh basil.  Serve.

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