Pasta Gigli with Fresh Aromatic Tomato Sauce and Pan Seared, Oven Finished Chicken
I woke up unnecessarily early Wednesday with the urge, no, the need to make fresh pasta sauce. Rummaging through the fairly new arrivals to my refrigerator, I pulled out four Roma tomatoes and basil, and from my aromatics bowl, one huge sweet red onion and a head of garlic. From my potted patio garden, I clipped fresh oregano and thyme. My basil is still making a comeback after a worm attack; my sage is staging a comeback, as well, so I used store bought basil. While I was cooking only for myself, I found that my ingredients, made enough sauce to feed three easily. Had I had two or three more tomatoes and had I used three-fourths of the onion, rather than half of it, I could have made enough sauce to feed a family of four. Easy. With that in mind, while I am going to list the ingredients as I used them for my simple meal, adjust the ingredients list (it is very short) accordingly to meet your need! This is my simplest recipe that does not involve the use of Any canned ingredients. I loved it.
Ingredients Starting Line-Up
1 1/4 cups Gigli pasta (bells)
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 large red onion, coarsely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh oregano, pull leaves and finely chop with the thyme
4 sprigs fresh thyme
6 - 8 basil leaves, torn or chiffonade
2 teaspoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice or, one tablespoon of red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil, three tablespoons plus two more, separated
In a medium sauce pan or skillet, even, add three tablespoons of evoo, about three rounds of the skillet or sauce pan over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to ripple, add the onion and half of the garlic. Stir and keep it moving. You do not want the garlic to brown. Add a pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper and stir. The salt helps the onion sweat, releasing its sweet goodness.
When the onions just begin to become translucent, add the tomatoes and the rest of the garlic. Stir and let cook at medium-high about three or so minutes. Add the lemon juice or red wine vinegar and the fresh chopped herbs. Stir to incorporate and allow the mixture to come to a bubble. Add a quarter cup of water, if needed. Different stove tops, different heat levels. If the mixture begins to dry out, add the water. You want the flavors to have the time to marry, as you will be reducing the heat to low for twenty minutes to simmer and break down the tomatoes further.
Started with onion and garlic, then added the tomatoes.
Meanwhile, as all of this aromatic goodness is breaking down and those flavors marry, bring three of four quarts of water to a boil. Liberally salt the pasta water and add the Gigli (bell) pasta or whatever small pasta, such as Penne or Fusilli that you would like. The Gigli catches the sauce in its little ripples and bell shape so you enjoy the fresh sauce along with a generous but not overpowering mouth full of pasta and sauce. I am getting ahead of myself! Back to the pasta! As I said, liberally salt the water, as it is the only chance you will have to season the pasta. Follow the directions (if you can read them, as the bag I buy is imported from Italy and I can make out only some of the Italian directions, but not all), and so I follow my experience and boil, stirring occasionally for eight to ten minutes. Stirring immediately prevents the pasta from sticking the bottom of your pot.
While the pasta is boiling away, it should be time to break down the pasta sauce. I wanted mine to be smooth, as opposed to chunky. I put the hot, but cooling, mixture in my Ninja blender (Thanks, friend Spinner! Such a fantastic gift!) along with the remaining evoo in the bottom, and blended all of it until smooth. Seconds is all that thing takes! I placed the sauce back into my skillet until time to toss with the pasta.
I used a handled strainer utensil instead of a colander to scoop up and add the pasta to the sauce skillet. I added a small amount of the starchy pasta water and thoroughly tossed the pasta with the sauce until the pasta was fully coated with the fresh pasta sauce. The aroma was incredible, if I don't say so, myself!
I served my pasta with chicken coated with garlic and seared in Jalapeno olive oil and oven finished. So delightful!
Sorry for the fuzzy shot.....Here is a better one.....
Once again, Thank You, gentle readers, for your time and readership