Wednesday, October 27, 2010

bon appetit!

So lately I have been watching a lot of Julie & Julia. Not only because Meryl Streep is my favorite actress, is incredibly brilliant and has the career of my dreams, but because it's one of those few feel good movies that I actually like. Although the scenes concerning Julie Powell aren't my favorite, Amy Adams is just too cute to not like. Stanley Tucci and Meryl are the perfect combination (remember how they totally redeemed Devil Wears Prada, like BIG TIME?), they can do no wrong together. 

Anyway, I was really inspired the other night by the scene where Julie is cooking bruschetta in her little kitchen and also by Kacie's recent post involving my favorite vegetable/herb combination: tomato & basil! 

Tonight I made bruschetta and spicy pasta. Here comes the recipe with step-by-step instructions & photos...

4-6 Roma tomatoes
1 large package of fresh basil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to taste)
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic salt, minced garlic, red pepper flakes (all to taste)
1/2 of a large red onion
1 large can of peeled whole tomatoes
1 jar of marinara sauce or can of tomato puree (optional)
1 loaf of freshly baked bread (store bought)

I bought 6 Roma tomatoes for the bruschetta, but ended up dicing only 4.

Clean and dry a large package of basil.

Chiffonade the basil.

Set aside.

Heat a 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and add a few cloves of garlic.
I really like garlic so I sauteed about 2 or 3.
Remember that garlic burns very quickly so keep the heat low.

Add half of a large, sliced onion.
The sweetness of the red onion works best with the spicy flavors.

Season the onions with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes 
(start off small with the red pepper, this is where the dish gets all the heat).
Sautee until the onions become tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Once the onions are cooked, add a large can of whole peeled tomatoes.
Break up the tomatoes with a spoon or spatula, but be careful because they will splatter.
Bring to a boil.

Turn the heat down to medium and let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Use whatever pasta you like and follow the instructions on the box.

While the pasta sauce is simmering, combine the diced tomatoes and basil, 
add minced garlic & olive oil to taste.
Season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, 
and  garlic salt (if you're a garlic junkie like me) to taste.

Purchase a loaf of bread freshly made at your local grocery store.
I used sourdough because that's my favorite, a French baguette would also work well.

Slice half the loaf. Set aside.

After simmering the sauce for about 15 minutes, add some basil.

Continue to simmer on low.

If the sauce is too chunky for your taste, 
add 1/4 - 1/2 a jar of marinara sauce or tomato puree.

Once the pasta is cooked al dente, 
add about 1/2 cup of pasta water to the sauce, then the desired amount of pasta.
(Adding pasta water to the sauce helps the sauce "love & cling to" the pasta more).

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and dredge the slices of bread into the oil, 
toast on medium-high heat.

Add the bruschetta mixture & liquid to the toasted bread.


After the first bite of bruschetta, Dave said, "OH WOOOW!!"

Bon appetit!

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