My favourite inauthentic pastas: Tomato Sauce 1.0
Ever since I can remember pasta has played a very important role in my family. It was the single-most frequent dish we would have. We like our pasta all done, yet firm. The water you cook the pasta in must taste like the ocean and we will never add oil to it. We believe that each sauce calls a for a specific kind of pasta and while all shapes and sizes were great, there was one loved like no other. When we were kids, my sister and I adored my mothers linguini alla bolognese. We were demanding it daily and every single time my mother’s infamous, yet untraditional sauce would bring a big smile to our faces. Today, quite a few years later, a big plate of good bolognese will make me feel like home. Cozy, calm and loved.
We are not Italian. Far from it. So I won’t even start on claiming any innate culinary authority in this matter. But there is no reason why a white boy shouldn’t be able to make some seriously good pasta. Or conversely, there is no reason to believe that only Italians should know how to make good Italian food. Yet we especially like to go to restaurants offering authentic ethnic cuisine- whatever that means and we sure prefer our pizza-dough to be rolled out by someone with a tan.
Try it yourself, before you read any further:
I can only guess at this stage, but I would predict that the majority of people will choose Mao Sugiyama, because they attributed a higher level of expertise in cooking sushi-rice to a Japanese chef.
But, how would you have chosen if I told you, and I am about to, that Sugiyama served five diners his/her own, well… genitalia, whereas Bocuse on the other hand is holding three Michelin stars for his Nouvelle Cusine? (I’m not making this stuff up by the way, have a look around the internet. Also, in my defence I didn’t know any Japanese names so I googled for an actual Japanese chef – oh this is the internet in all it’s glory.)
You are most likely going to decide for Bocuse, because of the Michelin stars and all and especially for a history of not serving penis. But still, that doesn’t tell you anything about his expertise when it comes to sushi-rice. All you do is to apply something called heuristics, rules-of-thumb, that will help you to make decisions based on rather gross criteria. So the next time you are talking about authentic Japanese cuisine in a restaurant in Groningen, take a second to think about how authentic this very restaurant can ever be and most importantly what importance authenticity plays for you. While you think about all this, have a nice bowl of guaranteed inauthentic pasta. It’s not my mothers recipe (You and me, we aren’t quite ready to share these kind of recipe yet), but it is equally good.
Pasta Water Salt Pepper Basil Parmesan Mozarella Canned tomatoes Capers Olive oil Garlic Sugar
- Cook some pasta, for this recipe I prefer my own thick linguine (I will have a posted a recipe for this some time soon), but of course you can chose about any shape and size you like.
- Add some olive-oil to a warm pan.
- Chop, squish or mush some garlic.
- Add the chopped, squished or mashed garlic to the warm oil.
- Let the oil heat up until the room is filled with the scent of garlic and the garlic in the pan starts to brown slightly.
- Add the canned tomatoes to the garlic. (I usually take the pan of the stove for a second, just to limit the sprinkling of a hot tomatoe-oil mixture)
- Add some salt and pepper.
- Cook until everything is a nice big mush. (This happens faster if you chop the tomatoes quickly using kitchen scissors and if you seal the pan with a lit).
- Add some freshly chopped fresh basil if you like, it works fine without it though.
- The sauce might be a bit acidic, this can be easily resolved with a bit of sugar. It might conversely also be a bit too sweet, which can in turn be helped with a few drops of lemon-juice or some kind of vinegar.
- I sometimes add a bit of grated parmesan cheese to the sauce, right before serving, but if you want to keep it vegan, just leave this bit out.
- You might want to add some of the pasta-water to the sauce if it should get too thick.
- Mix the pasta with the sauce, serve it in on a nice plate, add some mozzarella and some parmesan if you like. I like to have this with a few capers and a bit of chopped basil. And I usually add some garlic-oil.
Tip: The “natural” sugar in the tomatoes will caramelise with time and intensify the tomatoe-aroma. This is why I like to have the sauce on the stove for about 15-20 (low-medium heat) minutes before adding the basil. In general I find that the taste of the sauce increases proportionally to the time and heat applied to it.