Never underestimate the deliciousness of this amazingly economical but very nutritious and simple dish.
If you have a quantity of cherry tomatoes which need eating, a glut of homegrown, or even some rather sad-looking bought imported tomatoes, then as long as you can find some spaghetti, olive oil, a small onion, two or three garlic cloves, sea salt and black pepper, and a bit of parmesan, then you can make this great but frightfully simple dish. Tinned tomatoes are not so good in this dish, but could be used in an emergency.
Adjust the quantities according to however many people you plan to feed. The recipe below does one very greedy, or two lesser appetites for a substantial main course.
8 oz or 225 g of Italian durum wheat Spaghetti
1 medium onion, red or white
3 to 6 tablespoons of Olive Oil
3 cloves of garlic
4 or 5 large tomatoes, or around 8 to 10 oz or 250 to 400 g of cherry tomatoes
Parmesan to taste, but at least 1 to 2 oz, or 15 to 30 g
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic, and roughly quarter the tomatoes, and put them with the olive oil over a moderate heat to simmer together until well- broken down, and stir regularly to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Put a large pan of salted water on to boil for the Spaghetti.
Keep stirring the tomato mixture with a wooden spoon, and break down all the lumps until you get a more liquid sauce. Keep it warm. Taste for seasoning and add salt and a copious grinding of black pepper.
Add the Spaghetti to the water when it is boiling fiercely, and cook it until al dente. Check after 5 or so minutes by pulling a strand out and biting it. It shouldn’t have a very chalky or cement like centre, but be very careful it doesn’t lose its bite completely and become mushy!
Drain the Spaghetti when practically ready, but preferably a smidge before!
Strain the sauce over the cooked pasta using a conical sieve if you have one, or a regular sieve. Press out all the precious liquid and pulp, leaving only a small amount of dry fibrous matter, eg skins and seed. If you have no sieve, then you can just use the whole sauce, pips, skin and all, and call it ” Rustic” tomato sauce!
Stir everything well together, over a low heat, until every strand of spaghetti is well coated and moist. If you have a well of wet liquid, then increase the heat a little until the pasta has absorbed it. If a little dry, then add a tablespoon of reserved water from the pasta. The more you make this the more experience you will gain in the art of marrying pasta with sauce!
Put into a serving bowl, and dress with copious amounts of freshly grated Parmesan.
If you have some fresh Basil leaves to hand, then tear them into pieces and throw into the sauce just before adding it to the Pasta. Good Fresh Basil will transform this dish into Dinner Party fare! Never, ever be tempted to use dried Basil, however. You are better off without. Nor should you ever use ready grated Parmesan as it always tastes stale and musty.