Like the common dilemma,”which came first..the chicken or the egg?”…now I ponder, “which came first…the pasta or the sauce?” This past Sunday, as my son and I walked through our local grocery store, I invited him to pick out any pasta he wished. Well, if you have ever given options to a 5 year-old, you can relate to how long it took him to decide. Minutes passed until finally, he started to smile and approached me with a bag of pappardelle nests. Let me be honest. I have never heard of, nor have I ever cooked with pasta shaped like a bird’s nest. But a promises is a promise, and I walked out of there with no idea what I was going to do with these noodles.
I scoured a few cookbooks, food blogs and magazines, and decided I wanted to do something simple. So, I revisited one of my go-to, basic tomato sauces, and enhanced its flavor with anchovy paste, a knob of butter, and fresh basil. Fantastic! Sauce complete!…Now, to those noodles in the shape of nests. Well, lets just say, I am lucky that my son is so sweet and has an amazing imagination. You see, no bird would mistake my finished product for something that would hold an egg. But, two kids and a husband appreciated the effort nonetheless, and we enjoyed a fantastic pasta dinner compliments of one damn good tomato sauce.
- 2 T Olive Oil
- 1 t Garlic, minced (approximately 2 cloves)
- ½ t Anchovy Paste
- ½ t Salt
- ¼ t Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 2 (14.5 oz) Cans Tomatoes, Diced - Italian Style, undrained
- 1 T Unsalted Butter
- 2 t Lemon Juice
- 2 t Sugar
- 2 T Fresh Basil, julienned, packed
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, anchovy paste, salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook stirring constantly 3 minutes, or until the garlic has started to turn golden brown. Then, add the diced tomatoes, along with their juices, to the garlic oil and cook, undisturbed over medium heat 20 minutes.
- Pause Here, A Simple Cooking Note: Resist the temptation to stir...Let the tomatoes reduce down over the heat; the results are perfection!
- Remove the tomato mixture and set-aside 10 minutes to cool. Then, transfer the mixture to a large food processor, along with the butter, lemon juice, sugar and basil. Process for 30 seconds, or until completely blended and no large tomatoes remain. To finish, enjoy with your pasta of choice! I am biased to the pappardelle, of course!