This is what a photo shoot looks like when you cook 10 pasta dishes, one right after the other, on a rainy Saturday and between shots you pack up some of the dishes and sample all of them.
The results of this shoot are gathered in a nifty ecookbook, “Not the Same Old Spaghetti Sauce,” by Diane Darrow and Tom Maresca, which we’ve just released this week.
I’ve loved Diane and Tom’s previous print cookbooks, which helped shape my understanding of Italian food and I’m thrilled to have published their first ecookbook.
The process of producing a cookbook, even a mini ecookbook that doesn’t involve printing, is still an arduous one. From start to finish, it is a lot of work and Diane and Tom’s book was no exception. But in the end it is a book we are proud of and one we will cook from for a very long time.
It is tiny treasure trove of tomato-based pasta recipes from all over Italy and each recipe has a fabulous wine suggestion from Tom, one of America’s leading Italian wine authorities.
I can’t imagine that anyone has access to ripe tomatoes yet, but when you do this recipe from “Not the Same Old Spaghetti Sauce” is the recipe to make. It’s summer in a bowl.
Spaghetti with Vegetable Garden Sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 pound small zucchini, cut in strips 2 to 3 inches long and 3/8 inch by 3/8 inch thick
3/4 large sweet onion, chopped
2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
5 to 6 basil leaves, shredded
1 pound imported Italian spaghetti
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes or until soft and partially browned. Transfer the zucchini to a large bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving behind as much oil as possible.
Add the onions to the skillet and cook, stirring often until soft and partially browned. Scrape the entire contents of the skillet (that is, oil and all) into the bowl with the zucchini. While these vegetables are still warm, stir in the tomatoes, 1/2 tablespoon salt, generous amounts of pepper and the basil. Let the mixture sit for several hours at a cool room temperature (or in the refrigerator if necessary — but bring them back to room temperature before dressing the spaghetti).
Near serving time, bring a large pot of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain in a colander, mix with the vegetable sauce and serve.
The brightness and lightness of these flavors call for the same elements in your wine. White or red will serve equally well. For a white, try a Soave Classico from a good producer like Pieropan, Inama, Gini or Suavia. For red, we’d suggest a Sicilian Frappato or a Cerasualo from the Marche, or even a Bardolino from the Veneto. And if you can’t make up your mind to a red or a white, this is a case where a good, dry rosé from almost anywhere would serve.