- Food and Cooking
Spaghetti Sauce for Simple Pasta Dishes
The Simplest Spaghetti Pasta Dish in the World
How can something so simple taste so good?
One of the most popular foods that our whole family eats uses one of the simplest spaghetti sauces that goes hand in hand with the most common long spaghetti to create a very simple pasta dish. The original recipe was passed down through the generations from my Italian great grandmother.
Now I have to be honest, the final recipe has evolved to suit modern day living and the quest for healthy eating that can also be eaten as a vegetarian dish . But as with all great recipes it remains very simple and straight forward to cook, costs virtually nothing and not only the adults love it but so do all the kids. This really is a recipe for the whole family that is quick and easy to make but still tastes delicious despite the transition to more modern cooking methods and tastes.
The Original Recipe for a Simple Pasta Dish
The original recipe for my simple pasta dish came from my great grandmother who settled in Lossiemouth in Scotland with my great grandfather their surname was Rizza and they came from a place called Belmonte Castello in Italy, about 120km south east of Rome. I only actually know this because my grandmother's house in Newtonmore in Scotland was named Belmonte after her birthplace.
My great grandmother and grandfather ran a confectioners and tearoom, first in Inverness and then in Lossiemouth and my grandfather had his own ice cream making parlor at the back of the shop in Lossiemouth where he used to make the most wonderful Italian ice cream. So good in fact that family folklore reports that Prince Charles used to visit as a child to get his perfect Italian ice cream from the shop.
I can't give you the full details of this recipe because I was never actually witness to it ever being cooked, but my mother told me that the basis of the sauce came from cooking a roast beef dinner. The beef was cooked in a roasting tin that had seen a splash of olive oil and then had a layer of tomato puree added. The beef was then roasted in the puree and the juices from the joint mingled with the tomato puree to give it a lovely beefy flavour.
Once cooked the beef was used for the main meal of the day and the tomato puree, now fused with all the flavor and juices from the beef, was saved for a simple pasta dish. Needless to say being a true Italian my great grandmother used to make her own spaghetti to go with the tomato puree, I don't imagine it was that easy to get hold of in Scotland back in those days anyway. Once the pasta was cooked it was simply a case of heating the sauce and adding it to the pasta. The two were stirred together so that the sauce coated the pasta ready for serving. A little Parmesan cheese lightly grated on top and hey presto a perfect pasta dish with a gorgeous spaghetti sauce for virtually no effort at all.
Even my mother modified this technique slightly, instead of cooking the beef in the puree she would simply save the beef fat from the roast and add it to the tomato puree later. She just used to pop the beef fat into a pan, add the tomato puree and heat it through to make the sauce. There were no added ingredients, no herbs or spices, the flavour came solely from the juices that came out of the beef.
When the sauce was ready, the same way of serving the spaghetti was adopted, only by now the spaghetti was the purchased variety available on all the supermarket shelves. Bit of a shame really.
We loved it all the same, just a really simple but tasty meal of pasta.
The Vegetarian Version of Spaghetti Sauce
So here we go then for the modern day equivalent of great grandmother's spaghetti sauce and the basis of her very simple pasta dish. This one is definitely suitable for a vegetarian meal.
Preparing the Spaghetti Sauce
Put 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and warm with a gentle heat. Add tomato puree concentrate sufficient for the amount of spaghetti to be cooked.
To mix the olive oil and tomato puree just add a drop of boiling water to bring the mix together for a nice creamy textured spaghetti sauce. Crush one or two garlic cloves and add to the sauce according to taste and season with oregano and black pepper. Simmer very gently for about 10 minutes.
- Olive oil
- Garlic cloves
- Tomato puree concentrate
- Black pepper
- Parmesan cheese
- Basil, (optional)
Preparing the Spaghetti Sauce
- Put 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and warm with a gentle heat. Add tomato puree concentrate sufficient for the amount of spaghetti to be cooked.
- To mix the olive oil and tomato puree just add a drop of boiling water to bring the mix together for a nice creamy textured spaghetti sauce.
- Crush one or two garlic cloves and add to the sauce according to taste and season with oregano and black pepper.
- Simmer very gently for about 10 minutes.
- Bring a pan of salted water to boil and add your spaghetti, make sure that the spaghetti does not stick together by stirring with a fork. Simmer for around 10 minutes or until the spaghetti is cooked and make very sure it is not overcooked. You can do this by lifting a small piece out of the pan and tasting it, you should aim to catch the spaghetti just after it has gone from the brittle state it was in when you first got it out of the packet to a soft just cooked condition. If you leave it in too long it will swell and become too soft.
- Once cooked strain off the water and return the spaghetti to the pan. Pour in your tomato spaghetti sauce and stir the two together to coat your spaghetti completely with the tomato sauce. If you like it really saucy, you can keep a little back to add to the top of the spaghetti when serving.
- Its best to serve the spaghetti in a dish which you have warmed in the oven to about 100 C. You can add a light sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese, perhaps adding a little basil to garnish.
Preparing the Spaghetti
The whole meal will only take about 15 minutes to prepare and is one of the most fabulous and simple pasta dishes you will find. Kids just love it and the parents to.
The sauce works just as well with all the different pasta types, lasagna probably being the only exception, and you can experiment with the spaghetti sauce as well. Adding finely chopped onions and mushrooms really works well as does chopped black olives. You can in fact develop a sauce to become your own favorite family pasta dish using this as the base. But be careful you don't alienate the kids, they seem to like it in its simplest form and if you start getting too fancy, you might just find that they will then refuse to eat it.
Anyway give it a go, its simple, quick and very tasty. Enjoy.
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Spaghetti sauce, not quite like great grandma used to make but pretty darn good all the same.
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