Spaghetti Napoli

Pop, would you believe I charge sixteen dollars for a plate of spaghetti?
When I make it at home I figure out the cost is half a buck a plate.

- Mario Puzo, The Last Don.
I have debated with myself for a long time over what recipe should have the honour of being the first here. After a few days of procrastination, filled with hectic dis- placement activity, I came home late and found the pantry almost empty. Thus, my kitchen has resolved the problem itself : the first dish will be the only one I can make right now.




Ingredients :
  • Spaghetti no.5 - as much as You like. (If You prefer tagliatelle or fetuccine, use it instead. Actually, any kind of pasta goes well with this sauce)
  • Tomatoes - at least two tomatoes per person.
  • Onions - half an onion per person.
  • Garlic - three to four cloves.
  • Olive oil - its amount depends on how oily You want the sauce to be.
  • Parmesan cheese - as much as You can afford. (You can substitute it with cheddar, gouda or some other savoury, hard cheese, but if You can get Your hands on parmesan or grana padano, by all means do)
  • Basil and oregano leaves - these two are the absolute minimum when seasoning spaghetti. I suggest using both fresh leaves and dried seasoning.

Tomatoes, onions and garlic frying in olive oil
Phase One : Mincing and mixing. 
Dice the onions thinly - the smaller the better. Heat the olive oil in a receptacle of Your choice (I use a frying pan, but most pots will do). Add the onions and fry them untill they become semi- transparent, but make sure they don't go brown. Add half of the garlic to the frying onions.
While the onion is frying, prepare a pot for spaghetti (if You want to make it very posh, You can boil the pasta in broth, that's how it's done in best italian restaurants).  When the water is boiling, put in the tomatoes and count to five. That way their skin will peel off easily. Peel the tomatoes, dice them and add to the onions. While the sauce is simmering, put the pasta into the pot. Make sure You stir it well so that it does not stick to the bottom.
Phase Two : Simmering, supervising and serving.
Now You need to supervise the spaghetti and the sauce until they are ready. Both will need stirring, the sauce more often than the pasta (if You find the sauce too thin, You can add some tomato puree about now.) When the sauce is close to finish, add the rest of the garlic and the herbs. Simmer for a bit longer so that the tastes mix smoothly.
Spaghetti napoli can be served in a bowl or on a plate, but always with grated cheese - the more the better. You can put some basil leaves on top for a nice, finished look. This sauce contains no meat, so it can be accompanied by both white and red wine, preferably semi-dry so that it does not overwhelm the dish.

Spaghetti should be cooked al dente, which means it should be firm enough to be bitten (instead of being only fit for chewing). The sauce should be thick, and it absolutely cannot leak water. The only thing that can leak from a good tomato sauce is olive oil.

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