“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spaghetti Margherita

Ciao a tutti!! Today I will be sharing with you some delicious Spaghetti Margherita! I would also like to remind you that I am a semi-finalist in Eggland’s Best “Your Best Recipe” Contest!! My recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Espresso Cookies was selected. You can please vote until Sept. 30th 12PM. You can take a look at http://www.egglandsbest.com/yourbestrecipe and on the Eggland's Best "Your Best Recipe" Contest tab on the Eggland's Best Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/egglandsbesteggs/app_251842034899170 - you have to “like” Egglands Best. You will see my recipe under the Dessert Category under Caroline B. I would very much appreciate it. Thank you all! Now…onto the pasta!!

I love the idea that a lot of Italian food is based on simplicity. Nothing fancy or over complicated, just good old food and I think that that is what makes Italian cuisine so appealing to everyone. You don’t necessarily have to be a trained chef or even that great in the kitchen to be able to make a fantastic meal. Which brings me to this….Spaghetti Margherita.

When I was little, I obviously ate a lot of Italian food. Whenever I went to my nonna’s, she would make me tons of fried cauliflower, meatballs and chicken cutlet. But maybe you noticed that something was missing. Pasta. I’ll tell you why. I didn’t like pasta until I was around twelve. I know, I know, I’m still ashamed to admit it. Everyone loves pasta, in one form or another, whether we’re talking about Italian penne, Chinese lo mein or American mac and cheese. I just didn’t like it, I don’t know why; I couldn’t tell you if you asked. Now of course, I’m a pasta fanatic!! Give me any sort of pasta and I will make something amazing out of it. Today I have prepared a classic and easy dish of Spaghetti Margherita.

In 1889, during a visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Italy was served a pizza that had the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). This kind of pizza has been named after the Queen as Pizza Margherita and of course you can see many recipes that simply use the same red, white and green method and name it after the Queen as well, like this pasta dish.

This is an incredibly easy pasta dish to prepare. All you have to do is make the fresh tomato sauce, sprinkle some mozzarella over the pasta and top with a few leaves of fresh basil and there you have it! Spaghetti Margherita!

Spaghetti Margherita

1 box of whole wheat spaghetti (you can use white flour of course)
Salt- for the pasta water

15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
6 cloves of garlic (or as much as you like)
Basil (finely chopped)
Crushed Italian herbs

1 fresh mozzarella
Basil- as much as you would like to top off your pasta

Start by preparing your water over the stove on high heat. Salt your water.
Prepare a deep pot with your ¼ cup of olive oil; make sure the pot is big enough since you will eventually be putting the pasta in it.

Coarsely chop your garlic and add to the pot, cook until soft. Add tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and crush Italian herbs. Cook 6-7 minutes, until garlic is soft and then for an additional 15 minutes while the pasta water boils.

When the pasta water is boiling, put in all of the spaghetti until it is al dente. I find that spaghetti cooks pretty quickly, probably around 5-7 minutes depending on your stove. Now, drain your water and add the spaghetti to the tomato sauce.

What I like to do is use the mozzarella and basil on each individual portion. So, divide your portions and shred some mozzarella directly on top. Assuming the pasta is slightly warm, it should melt the cheese slightly. If you don’t want the cheese to melt, let the pasta cool for at least ten minutes before serving. Then, put a few fresh leaves of basil on top. Buon Appetito! 

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