I am 50 % Italian. For me, this means many things. It means having the supernatural ability to get wicked tan in the Summertime. It means having a natural propensity to speak loudly in social situations, especially with family members. Most of all, this means, having a love-affair with Italian Food. Especially spaghetti.
My mom makes a great homemade tomato sauce. I have fond childhood memories of her sauce cooking on the stovetop all day long, taunting my olfactory senses until dinnertime. As a child, I would eat ungodly amounts of the thin, long pasta noodles drenched in sauce until my stomach rebelled against me (note: this is yet another example of things my parents allowed me to do as a child which should have resulted in me being terribly unhealthy and obese as an adult. I was never taught proper portion sizes as a child, nor did I have any concept of what "healthy eating" was. It grieves me to think of the large bowls of ice cream I ate after dinner each night, and the fact that we got Dunkin Donuts every Sunday in lieu of going to church. AND I WAS NEVER STOPPED FROM EATING SIX, YES SIX, GLAZED DONUTS. EVERY SUNDAY. As a third grader. God help me. I digress).
I was raised to believe that making tomato sauce from scratch was a complicated process. It involved a lot of time and ingredients. I love making my mom's tomato sauce, but I too often shy away from preparing it because I don't feel like putting in the time and effort.
After eating at Olive Garden not long ago, I had the idea of re-creating one of their recipes which I adore: Cappellini Pomodoro. This dish consists of angel hair pasta tossed with diced tomatoes and spices. There isn't a "sauce" per se, but it tastes just as full and delicious. It seemed simple enough, so I decided to try creating my own version.
It was fantastic! AND SO SIMPLE! So, of course, I share it with you today...
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Simple Supper Mondays
Steph's Linguine with Tomatos, Garlic and Basil
- 1 box of Linguine (I used 100% Whole Wheat
- 1-2 TBS Olive Oil
- 1 heaping TBS Minced Garlic
- 1 can of Petite Diced Tomatoes, partially drained (leave a bit of the juices)
- 1/4 cup of Fresh Basil, chopped (or 1 tsp of dried basil)
- (Optional) Grated Parmesan Cheese
1) Prepare Linguine according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
2) While Linguine is boiling, eat Olive Oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and saute 2 minutes (do not overcook). Add tomatoes (with reserved juices) and basil. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until mixtures is almost bubbling.
3) Add the linguine to pan, and toss with the tomato mixture for 1-2 minutes.
4) Transfer to serving bowl, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if you like.
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This meal came together in as much time as it took to boil the pasta (about 12 minutes). I was amazed that simplicity did not mean sacrificing taste. This was delicious, and appeased every Italian taste bud I have. I also appreciated that this was sat lighter in my stomach than the more traditional tomato sauce. For anyone who has been intimidated to attempt Italian fare, this recipe is a great place to start.
I will never stop preparing my mother's tomato sauce from time to time, but I have found a great stand-in for busy weeknights. And I cannot wait until summer when I can make this meal with fresh tomatoes from the garden! And it's Meatless, to boot!
I would love to try out your Simple Supper Meals, so send them my way and I will share them with the rest of the community! firstname.lastname@example.org
PS - someday soon, I will post my mom's tomato sauce recipe. It's worth the effort. :)