Sicilian Style Sauce
Fresh tomato, basil, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and breadcrumbs are all you need to whip up this rapid, wonderfully fresh Sicilian pasta sauce.
- 4 plum tomatoes
- 1/4 cup 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
- 3 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 large pinch red pepper flakes
- salt to taste
- 1 pound 450g dried spaghetti
- 1/2 cup 35g lightly toasted panko breadcrumbs, divided
- Grated Sicilian Pecorino cheese for serving (optional)
- Using a paring knife, score an "X" on the top side of each tomato and cut out the stem end.
- In a pot of boiling water large enough to hold the spaghetti, blanch tomatoes until skins just begin to slip off where you scored them, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove tomatoes. (Keep the water hot, you'll need it to cook the pasta.)
- Run tomatoes under cold water, then remove and discard skins and seeds.
- Run tomatoes under cold water, then remove and discard skins and seeds. Grate tomato flesh on largest holes of a box grater into a large heatproof mixing or serving bowl; it's okay if some slightly larger pieces of tomatoes remain.
- Add olive oil, basil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Stir well and season with salt to taste. Set aside.
- Return water to a boil and season with salt. Cook spaghetti, stirring frequently, until al dente. When pasta has almost finished cooking, transfer 1/4 cup (30ml) pasta cooking water to tomato mixture and whisk to form an emulsion.
- Using tongs, transfer pasta to tomato mixture along with an additional 1/4 cup (60ml) pasta cooking water. Vigorously toss and stir pasta to emulsify sauce and coat noodles.
- Add half of the breadcrumbs and toss to combine. The pasta should be well coated with creamy, emulsified sauce. If it seems dry, add extra pasta water and olive oil, 1 tablespoon (15ml) at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. Taste for seasoning.
- Transfer pasta to warmed plates and sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs. Top with cheese, if desired. Serve right away.