Anyway, today I say 'goodbye' to soups and move full-on into pasta and sauces.
I do believe that this section of 'Essentials' is particularly brilliant. Marcella gives explicit instructions for making the perfect pasta dish. Frankly, if one reads this section and still manages to plate undercooked and improperly sauced pasta they should be banned from the kitchen forthwith. With Marcella's advice in hand, anything less than pasta perfection will not be tolerated. No, it shall not.
I actually ready this section the way one reads a gripping novel, each paged turned, one after another, not wanting the flow of words to stop.
Sure I am food obsessed. I fully confess to that. However, Marcella's writing is so full of character and she imparts such words of wisdom that you can not help but love it.
I appreciated how she tackled the manner in which non-Italians abroad view Italian food - a big plate of overcooked pasta doused with boring tomato sauce. She cautions the serious cook to not be put off by this . . . tomato sauce need not taste like a can of 'Primo' nor a jar of 'Ragu'.
no flavour expresses more clearly the genius of Italian cooks than the freshness, the immediacy, the richness of good tomatoes adroitly matched to the most suitable choice of pasta.
With a description like this one has to be excited to have a go at one of her recipes.
My first selection was Tomato Sauce with Heavy Cream. This is not a complex preparation by any stretch of the imagination - perfect, ripe tomatoes, butter, a small quality of carrots, celery, and onion, and cream. That is it. While I love basil, garlic, and oregano it is a treat to make Italian food that isn't full of such stereotypical 'Italian' flavours.
With a recipe like this it is imperative that you use the best ingredients; trying to use anything less than that will result in a substandard effort that will leave you unhappy. There is enough unhappiness in the world - make a good meal and spread some happiness. :-)
The cook is advised that this sauce goes particularly well with stuffed pasta or the spinach ricotta gnocchi on p. 262. I made it with both. Yes, we loved it. You might be familiar with that beast known as 'Blush Sauce' - essentially this is what this is. I can guarantee you that if you make everything carefully using the finest ingredients this will taste as close to the wee plastic container of blush sauce that you picked up in the grocery store as cubic zirconium compares to a well-cut diamond.
This was a very good sauce! Thanks Marcella!