Spaghetti with Olives and Tomato Sauce
- 1 pound dried spaghetti
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups mixed olives, pitted and halved
- 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes, plus more if desired
- 3 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, shredded
SIMPLE TOMATO SAUCE:
In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. When water comes to a boil, add pasta, stirring constantly for the first minute to help prevent spaghetti from sticking together. Cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes.
In a large saute pan, heat oil. When almost smoking, add olives and red pepper flakes. Saute for 3 minutes over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and carefully pour in tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
Drain pasta in a colander, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water. Add pasta to the sauce and toss to coat completely. Add pasta water if you need to thin out the sauce a bit. Plate pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and basil.
In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.
Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.
Yield: 6 cups