Spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce
Feeds 4-6 people
1 package spaghetti (Rustichella d'abruzzo - each bag weighs 17.6oz - 500g)
4oz extra virgin olive oil (Al Frantoio di Aldo Armato - a fruity Ligurian olive oil)
4 medium cloves garlic, smashed and finely minced
1 tsp crushed chili flakes
20 basil leaves julienned
2 lbs fresh plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
6oz Pecorino Romano, finely grated
In a large saute pan, add the olive oil and heat over a medium flame. Add the minced garlic, stirring and allow it to sizzle. Add the chili flakes and half the basil. Just before the garlic begins to brown add the chopped tomatoes.
Fill a large pot with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat with a lid. Add a generous handful of salt when the water has reached a rolling boil.
Simmer the tomatoes for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes will break down and reduce. Add the remaining basil and taste for seasoning. Add a pinch of salt if necessary.
Drop the spaghetti into the boiling salted water and cook until al dente - approximately 8-10 minutes. Stir the spaghetti while cooking to prevent clumping. Drain the spaghetti (reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water) and add the pasta to the tomato sauce, stirring and allowing the spaghetti to cook for a few minutes in the sauce to absorb the flavors. Add some cooking water to loosen the sauce if it has reduced too much.
Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and top with half the Pecorino Romano. Serve the remaining half for guests to sprinkle on the plates of pasta.