eNTeNG c”,)™©’s Angel Hair Pomodoro

21 11 2008

A NUMBER of people kind of know that I am harboring thoughts of becoming a chef.  I do.  Will I go get myself the education to be one?  It depends on a lot of things.  Though this I know for sure – I don’t see it happening in the immediate, sensible horizon.  If I’d look back to everything that has passed so far in this year, I see moments when I found myself standing on the precipice of change.  You’re guessing it right.  I didn’t jump on the chance to take my life to a totally different course.  Don’t get me wrong..  I’m so loving my engineering job.  But sometimes I find myself thinking I could be a chef.  Oh well..  at least I think.  I think therefore I exist!

 

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eNTeNG c”,)™©’s Angel Hair Pomodoro... Can't help but take this shot!

 

So while that is not yet true, I just make sure I have as much time in the kitchen, whipping up my ‘signature’ dishes as much as I can.  One that I truly love is what I have started to call as eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  Angel Hair Pomodoro.  Sometimes, when all else just feels so wrong, I make this dish.  Eat.  And just feel all my cares wash away.  Sometimes, my brother would really request for this – on a whim – in the middle of the night.  Check out the time stamp on the picture above.  I loved how this one ended up looking like that I couldn’t resist to take a shot!

 

 

How did my love affair with angel hair pomodoro start?  It was all because of Italianni’s, way back in the day, at their first branch in Greenbelt, along Legaspi Street in Makati, near Nandau.  Whew!  I had to catch my breath with that desciption!  Hehe.  I can still vividly recall how pretty the dish looked like, served in the pan it (most probably) was cooked in.  The diced red tomatoes – sometimes, both red and a little yellow tomatoes – glistening with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil would always be impossible to resist.  That has been how I have loved pasta made – tossed well together with the sauce, and not just topped with it.  Even after a big bowl of my favorite Rosemary & Potato Soup, I could still clean up a huge serving portion of this pasta.  Hey, even a whole one!  As the years went on, I had made a number of attempts to perfect my angel hair pomodoro, especially before I left for my year-and-a-half-long assignment in the States.  The recipe I’m sharing here is the closest I got to perfection.

 

How much do I love this?  You have to know that this dish was my any-night dinner in Folsom.  It’s simple and quick and needs just a few ingredients.  Quite a number of my friends have liked this as well and would even request me to prepare them some (Millet and Agnes … even Boojie liked it a lot!).  If I wasn’t expecting company, I would eat this dish straight out of the pan, while standing by the kitchen counter.  Sarrrap !!!  The secret to its quickness is having all the sauce ingredients and cooking utensils ready.  Dry angel hair pasta cooks in just two (2) minutes so I start sauteing the sauce while bringing my pasta water to a boil.  That way, the sauce and the pasta get ready at about the same time.  I’ve found out that De Cecco makes the finest dry pasta.  But here at home, you may use San Remo because I think they’re the only ones who make angel hair.  This recipe is good for two persons for a generous dinner or for four persons for a light snack or lunch.  But I almost always end up eating everything!  So this is just good for one eNTeNG  c”,)™©.

 

700g to 1000g of ripe ‘San MarzanoRoma tomatoes or baby pear tomatoes

   (I actually use more!)

   or  a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (‘La Valle is a good brand)

4 to 6 Tablespoons of the finest extra virgin olive oil (I use ‘Bertolli’)

8 ounces or 225g angel hair pasta (‘De Cecco’ or ‘San Remo’)

5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly (about 1/8-inch)

pinch of cayenne pepper (or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)

12 or more fresh basil leaves

Grated Parmesan cheese (or Parmigiano-Reggiano)

   or freshly shaved Parmesan cheese (“shaved” looks more artistic!)

coarse salt

 

Blanch tomatoes in briskly boling water for about 5 to 10 seconds.  Plunge the tomatoes into an ice-water bath and then remove the skins and the seeds.  For a really ‘wet’ sauce, you may not remove the seeds.  That would be okay.  But DEFINITELY remove the skins!  Chop the tomatoes coarsely (or in small cubes) and set aside.  Fill your pasta pot with enough water according to the pasta package instructions.  Cover and bring to a rolling boil.  Then, in a 12-inch saute pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to very low (as low as you can go), then add the garlic and the cayenne pepper.  Cook this together slowly, with occasional stirring, to infuse the olive oil with the aroma of the garlic and the bite of the cayenne pepper.  The garlic will slowly take its distinctive, faint golden color (without actual browning!!!) while its flavor marries beautifully with that of the oil and the cayenne pepper.  Add the chopped tomatoes and let it simmer.  At this point, the pasta water should have come to a rolling boil.  Add the angel hair pasta and cook it al dente, which, based on my experience, is always at least one minute less than the manufacturer’s recommended cooking time.  When the pasta is about to get ready, tear the basil leaves into the tomato sauce.  Drain the pasta and quickly toss it together with the sauce.  Give the pasta another quick stir and voila !!!  You have a sumptuous Angel Hair Pomodoro dinner.  Serve it while it’s hot, with a generous topping of freshly grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  Have some more of the cheese to pass around.  Enjoy 🙂

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