Bucatini with Homemade Tomato Sauce

I was randomly watching a Japanese TV show on YouTube the other day.   It's a show about daily lives of Japanese women who live overseas because they married to people from those countries that they live in.  It's a light hearted documentary/reality show.  They also talk about food. A LOT.  What a surprise : ) In this episode I watched, the woman married into an Italian family almost 20 years ago.  

The entire family is still very critical of her Italian cooking, especially her tomato sauce. The family compares her tomato sauce to the Italian grandma's and they just shake their heads with disapproval look.  It's a bit silly show but interesting to me since I also live overseas and love to cook.  The show gets to its point and they arrange her to learn how to make a perfect tomato sauce from the expert.  

My kids love spaghetti more than any other type of pasta.  I happen to like thicker/wider noodle like bucatini or pappardelle.  I usually just buy spaghetti because it's common to find and less expensive.  But I was extremely inspired to make this almost perfect tomato sauce for this post.  I also bought a bag of bucatini for this special occasion.  

The important thing about making a great tomato sauce is of course picking right tomatoes.  They should be ripe and sweet.  But it's hard to find such tomatoes even at the farmer's market around Seattle especially in the fall.  I didn't grow enough tomatoes this summer in my garden.  Homegrown tomatoes are actually sweet and have rich flavor - if you did, highly recommend making them into tomato sauce!  So the tip I learned to cover it up if you can't find sweet tomatoes, is to simply add a little bit of sugar or some sort of sweeter.  (NEVER ketchup though!)  

I chose the best roma tomatoes I can find at a local store. I wasn't sure how fresh they were, but I still needed to add a bit of sugar.  I chopped some garlic, onion and tomatoes and sautéed them tougher with a good quality of virgin olive oil.  I didn't use extra virgin because it does taste a bit bitter.  I finished the sauce with some suger salt, pepper and chopped basil leaves.  

The last but not least, invest in a good quality of parmigiana reggiano.  I does make a huge difference. I didn't need to use a lot because the good ones have such deep and solid flavor.  

My family noticed the huge difference from my usual tomato spaghetti.  They wanted the second and the third.  I made it twice this week.  It's a simple dish but sometimes simple dishes are the ones to teach us the most about cooking.

* I realize that I forgot to take photos of my tomato sauce.  I'll add it later to prove that I really made it : )

Recipe:  5 generous servings

10-12 large ripe roma tomatoes
3 cloves of large garlic minced
1 medium red onion chopped
a hand full of large fresh basil leaves chopped
3 table spoons of virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of sugar
2-3 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano
1 teaspoon of butter (optional)

500g (usually a whole package) of bucatini pasta

parmigiano reggiano

Chopp garlic, onion and tomatos and set them aside.  Heart olive oil in a large pan with medium heat.  Add chopped garlic, onions and tomatoes.  Sauté for 5 minutes until it start to bubble up and tomatoes are cooked.  Ad salt, pepper and sugar if needed to adjust the taste.  Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes over low medium heat.

In a big pan, bring water to boil and add a tablespoon of salt.  Put a bundle of pasta in hot boiling water and cook it until al dente according to the package instruction (for about 8 minutes).  

Bite into a pasta to see if it's al dente.  Drain the water if cooked by using the strainer and save a  cup of pasta water to use later.  

In a heated large flying pan over medium heat, pour some tomato sauce in.  Add cooked pasta into the sauce and quickly stir with tong.  Adjust the amount of sauce if needed and add some pasta water if it's too thick.  

Sprinkle some grated parmigiana reggiano before serving.  Buon Appetite!


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