Sunday night supper! A few days ago I happened across one of Lidia’s recipes and it seemed simple enough and was just perfect for simple supper after a day at the beach. I thought the season was perfect for Garden State ingredients but I was slightly off. I called one of our favorite Market Stands and I was told that it’s still too early for native plum tomatoes. As you know I’m a huge fan of Wegman’s but there are some vegetables that I will only eat in season and bought from a fruit and vegetable stand and tomatoes are definitely in that category. Well, at least I had the fresh basil growing in my backyard! Lidia allowed for the fact that you might not be able to get your hands on 2# of fresh plum tomatoes so she suggested you use a 28 oz can of peeled Italian tomatoes – so I did.
This really is a quick and easy recipe and so damn good!
1/4 cup olive oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 # fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded or 28 oz can of peeled Italian tomatoes
2 sprigs of fresh basil
pepperoncino (crushed red pepper to taste)
1 # Ziti
2 cups of mozzarella cubes ( 1/2″)
1/2 cup granna padano grated ( I used shredded Parmesan/Peccorino)
1/2 cup basil leaves, shredded and packed loosely
Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
Add the oil to a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook till lightly browned – about 2 minutes.
Carefully add the tomatoes and their liquid. Add the basil sprigs. Bring to a boil and season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper.
About 10 minutes after the sauce has been up on the stove, add the ziti to the boiling water. Reduce the heat for the sauce to a simmer and break up the tomatoes. Sauce should get chunky and thick – anywhere from 10-15 minutes.
Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings Lydia says to remove the garlic and the basil sprigs. I didn’t.
Drain the ziti and add to the sauce – toss till pasta is covered with sauce. Turn off the stove, add the mozzarella cubes and the grated cheese. Serve immediately and garnish with shredded basil leaves.
Recipe by Lidia Bastianich