In 'Lidia's Italy in America' by Lidia Bastianich
YIELD 4 cups marinara
- 1 (35 ounce) can san marzano tomatoes, with juices (4 cups)
- 1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1⁄2 cup sliced garlic (that's right, 1/2 cup)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 1 stalk fresh basil (about 20 leaves)
For Dressing the Pasta
- 1⁄3 cup shredded fresh basil, packed
- 3⁄4 cup freshly grated grana padano or 3⁄4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- Pour the tomatoes and their juice into a big mixing bowl.
- Using both hands, crush the tomatoes and break them up into small pieces (you don't have to mash them to bits, Ms. Bastianich likes tomatoes in 1-inch pieces).
- Pour the oil into a big skillet, scatter the garlic slices, and set over med-high heat.
- Cook for 1 1/2 minutes or so, until the slices are sizzling, then push the garlic aside to clear a dry spot to toast the red pepper flakes for 1/2 minute.
- Shake and stir the pan until the garlic slices are light gold and starting to darken.
- Immediately pour in the crushed tomatoes, and stir in with the garlic.
- Rinse out the tomato can and bowl with 1 cup of hot water, and dump this into the skillet as well.
- Increase heat; sprinkle in salt and stir.
- Push the stalk of basil into the sauce until completely covered.
- When the sauce is boiling, cover the pan, decrease the heat slightly, and cook for 10 minutes at an actively bubbling simmer.
- Uncover the pan, and cook another 5 minutes or so.
- The sauce should be only slightly reduced from the original volume, still loose and juicy.
- Before adding pasta, remove the poached basil stalk and discard.
- Keep the sauce on a low simmer until the pasta is ready.
- Prepare 1 pound pasta, drain.
- To dress the pasta with the marinara sauce, toss and cook them together, incorporating the shredded basil.
- Remove the skillet form the heat, and toss in the cheese just before serving.
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