Saturday, January 17, 2015

Recipe: Spaghetti Napolitana, With Caprese Topping

In my opinion, there is nothing as simple, as classic, and as delicious, as spaghetti napolitana- and I think every household, whether it's in Italy, America or good old Blighty, will have their own pasta with tomato sauce recipe. This my twist on a classic dish, as I have been challenged by luxury holiday provider Destinology to create. Spaghetti napolitana is from the Naples region of Italy, which I have visited and fallen in love with- I have had this dish in plenty of restaurants in Italy, and even had it in Little Italy in New York too!! I have been making this pasta and sauce recipe for my family since I was about 9, I know the vegetable stock cube isn't exactly authentic but that's how I like to make it. My twist on this classic dish is to sort of "combine" it with another very famous Italian dish, the "caprese" salad. Named thus as it was invented on the Neapolitan island of Capri (which I also have been lucky enough to visit!) - the caprese salad is delicious, and was supposedly invented to symbolise the green, red and white of the Italian flag. There we go, Italy on a plate, Bellissimo!! #DestinologyReimagine

Spaghetti Napolitana, with Caprese Topping (serves 2)

300g spaghetti
600g tinned tomatoes (or 1.2kg fresh very ripe tomatoes, diced)
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
¼ tsp mixed herbs
½ tsp Italian herb seasoning
1 ½ tsp sugar
1 vegetable stock cube
15g fresh parsley, finely chopped
10g fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
Salt and pepper to taste

2 x 125g balls fresh mozzarella, torn
100g pomodorini or cherry tomatoes
Handful fresh basil leaves
1)      In boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions, making sure the pasta is “al dente” (meaning still has a bit of “bite to it”). At the same time, in another saucepan, heat up the tinned tomatoes, garlic, mixed herbs, Italian herbs, sugar, stock cube, parsley, basil and olive oil on a high heat, stirring occasionally. If you use fresh tomatoes, cook with the lid on, to help the tomatoes to stew down. 
2.  Season the tomato sauce to taste. Drain the spaghetti and mix the tomato sauce in until well combined. Plate up, and top with the mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil leaves. Finally, drizzle in a little extra virgin olive oil, and serve!

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