This isn't the best spaghetti napoli ever.
I mean, it IS good. I was very pleased. But the title of The Best Spaghetti Napoli Ever has already been awarded to a gentleman named Guido. Which isn't a surprise really, given that his name is Guido and he is Italian and my name is Casey and I'm... I dunno what I am, some Irish-English-Convict hybrid. The race was over before it had begun on that count.
Anyway, Guido will forever hold this title because I think for me, his food was some of the first I was properly obsessed by (apart from yours, Mum, which is delicious and wonderful so please don't feel envious or sad!). Guido owned a restaurant called Primavera, and because my dad also shared an obsession with Guido's hearty Italian fare, we would eat there constantly. Constantly. As in, we parked in the staff car park, entered round the back door, our spaghetti was already on the table when we walked in, and on one birthday which will sparkle forever in my memory, Guido made me surprise ROSE PETAL ICE-CREAM.
Have you ever tried rose petal ice-cream!?? I don't have words for it. Actually I do: It's like Spring made a baby with a unicorn and now they live on top of a snow-covered marshmallow mountain and spend their days skiing down its fluffy pink slopes. As a side note, Guido's hazelnut ice-cream is also top notch. Also I like to order hot chips and ice-cream at the same time, and eat them in alternating mouthfuls. I like to spread thickened cream on top of my ice-cream until it freezes hard then eat it all. I don't ever dip the chips in the ice-cream or eat them in the same bite because that would be weird.
But yeah, Guido wins in the rose-petal ice-cream department, and he wins at Spaghetti Napoli too. I'm not sure if he wins at any thing else because I was hooked on the napoli from the start so never got onto trying the rest of the menu. My spaghetti napoli is yummy too though, because it contains onion and lots of melted butter. Today I served it with a bunch of green veggies that I steamed, doused liberally in garlic, parsley, chives, lemon juice, truffle oil, then fried. But they are not the main topic of today's post, today's post is about Spaghetti Napoli.
Half a jar of tomato passata (around 2-3 cups)
A brown onion, sliced (not diced!)
3 Tbsp butter
A handful of cherry tomatoes
Marjoram, parsley, sage and thyme (or anything from that song Are you going to scarborough fair?...)
Salt n Pepper
3 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves, torn in half
Parmesan cheese (for serving)
What to do
This is too easy to put as a recipe really. It's more just a revelation that if you put butter into tomato sauce along with roughly chopped onion you will create a creamy taste sensation! It is a useful tip that I want to pass along though, because it goes against my usual sauce-making routine.
Chuck the passata in your saucepan. Add the onion and butter, salt and pepper.
Cook it a bit (see? it's so easy that I've had to make one step 'cook it a bit')
Add all the herbs and cook it some more. Let it reduce a little so it's not too runny.
Put some spaghetti on to cook about now.
Throw the cherry tomatoes, bay leaves and garlic into your sauce and put a lid on. Let it all cook a while until the tomatoes are soft and nearly breaking up.
That is! That's all you have to do! And ok, it is just a tomato pasta sauce, but adding butter to anything improves it ten-fold, so I really encourage you to try adding it to your simmering pasta sauce! The sauce becomes creamy and rich, the onion goes soft and sweet and delicious, its culinary madness!
And here's how you make dish that I have rather arrogantly called 'Truffled Greens':
Broccoli, cut into florets
Zucchini (I peeled the skin into spaghetti strands and then chopped the rest in little thick sticks)
Asparagus, chopped into bits
Finely chopped parsley and chives
What to do
Cook the zucchini in a frying pan for ~5 minutes with some salt until it goes a little golden
Add the broad beans and asparagus
Blanche the broccoli in some hot water, drain it, then add it to the frying pan with the rest of the ingredients.
Mix in some more crushed garlic (~2 cloves), some salt and the juice of a whole lemon.
Pour truffle oil liberally over the whole thing, cover it all in parsley and chives, and serve.