What better way to celebrate the full flavours of spring than with pasta bathed in homemade tomato sauce spiked with an aromatic punch of fresh basil. I love to find ways of using our homemade 'Mamma Styles' tomato sauce that we make each autumn, and this recipe is one of the more delicious ways to enjoy the fruits of our labour. Topped with a sprig of fresh basil and a generous sprinkle of grated pecorino, there's no better way to ward off the last vestiges of winter, and open our culinary hearts to spring.
Spaghettini al Pomodoro e Basilico
1 package dried Spaghettini pasta
4 cups quality Tomato Sauce, preferably homemade like 'Mamma Styles'
1/4 cup red wine
1 bunch fresh basil, washed and dried
1 cup grated Pecorino
Start to boil water in a large pot. Place the tomato sauce and wine in a small saucepan over medium heat, and gently simmer until warmed through. Cover and keep warm.
Add the dried pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, according to the manufacturer's instructions. While the pasta is cooking, julienne about 10 basil leaves and select 4 attractive sprigs for garnish. Drain the spaghettini into a colander, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, return the pasta to the pot and toss with the tomato sauce and chopped basil. Spoon a tablespoon or two of pasta water to the sauce and gently mix to combine.
Serve the pasta as large nests in pre-warmed dinner bowls: using a large fork, twirl a portion of spaghettini and cradle in a large spoon or small bowl until it forms a nest-like shape, then place in each serving bowl. Garnish each 'nidi' with a sprig of basil and serve immediately with a bowl of grate pecorino on the side.