I used to be a hostess in Salt Lake at an upscale Italian restaurant. I was terrible at it. But I was happy for a paycheck and even happier to get a discount on all the meals which I greatly missed after I quit to go back to college, especially the Pomodoro Pasta.
Then my mom told me about a recipe I had forgotten about in the Walsh Cookbook called Spaghetti alla Margherita. It was even better than the restaurant version. My favorite thing is the chunks of mozzarella and basil which make everything rich and delicious!
I forgot my mom used to make it in the Fall when we used to have an insane amount of tomatoes from Farmer Kevin's garden. Its so easy to make and so rewarding when its done.
It quickly became one of Brendan's favorite recipes when I was in Spain for a summer and he was left on his own to cook. You can make variations by adding grilled chicken breasts, cooked sausage, zucchini, capers, mushrooms or you could use sun-dried tomatoes, whatever. All would be great!
what you'll need:
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked al dente, drained
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
2 large garlic cloves, slivered
10 large Roma tomatoes (about 2 lbs.), coarsely chopped
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
½ lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 –inch cubes or slices
½ cup freshly grated Romano pecorino cheese
Cook spaghetti while making the sauce. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over low heat. Add the slivered garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper.
Simmer for 10 minutes or so. Sometimes I find the sauce is too watery so I boil it hard until the liquid reduces a bit then lower the heat for a bit.
Add the chopped fresh basil and the cooked spaghetti. Cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat to warm the pasta thoroughly.
Remove pan from heat, place steaming hot pasta and sauce in a large serving bowl, toss in the fresh mozzarella and grated cheese. Stir well and serve at once.