First of all, in regard to my use of the term “sauce” in the above title of this post, please note, that it is NOT a misnomer. It is imperative that my dear readers are made aware of the fact that Frances, Salvatore and most Rinaldi’s call the red stuff put on macaroni, “gravy”. Although the mangiare to herein be discussed is also ladled over pasta, it is not done so in condiment form – it is the dish.
In a family of eight children, Arthur was Papa’s eldest brother. Like all Rinaldi men he was brutally handsome, very opinionated and as necessity would have it, ultra-pragmatic. Through his resourcefulness he was not only able to concoct this hearty, fresh-tasting (and budget-friendly) meal, but was also able to refine it – so as the mere mention of his namesake has now become synonymous with summertime.
Uncle Arthur’s Sauce
-pasta pot w/ strainer
-large metal mixing bowl
-cucchia(d) for mixing
-9 to 11 vine-ripened tomatoes from the garden (seeded, skin-on and cut into 1/2″ pieces)
-12 to 15 leaves of fresh basil chiffonade (from the garden)
-4 large cloves of garlic – 3 cloves systematically sliced, allowing for optional removal during consumption and 1 clove finely minced (Salvatore never had garlic in his garden so I don’t either)
-4 or 5 liberal swishes of extra virgin olive oil (imported – not Turkish, Spanish or heavens forbid, Greek)
-2 pinches of sea salt (more to taste)
-5 twists freshly ground black pepper
-1 pound of pasta (any variety, but I prefer noodles such from spaghettini up to fettuccine, of the whole wheat variety)
Get the pasta water boiling, making sure to add salt (this raises boiling temp by changing the water’s chemical makeup).
Seed tomatoes by cutting a semi-cone-shape on the top and squeezing over a compost bin. Cut into 1/2″ pieces and add to mixing bowl. De-stem basil and chiffonade – add to bowl. Add remaining ingredients and give a good stir.
Check for seasoning. The salt helps to extract moisture from the tomatoes, so fret not if it seems a bit less wet for an entire pound.
Place bowl in refrigerator until pasta is done (the garlic will “cook” in the acid of the tomatoes, but will still taste quite raw if susceptible to agita).
Cook pasta until al dente. Do not rinse.
To plate, scoop a bit of UAS into the bottom of a deep bowl. Add serving of pasta and top with more UAS.
If you want to get really crazy, try sprinkling some vitamin-b12-packed nooch and a few crushed red pepper flakes over your portion. Although, this will distract from the garden-freshness that is essential to UAS’s enjoyment.
Serves a pack of hungry gypsies*.
*By “gypsies” I by no means intend to insult the Roma people or any ethnic group for that matter (nomadic or otherwise). This is just something that we say.