Napoletana Pasta

Napoletana Pasta

The secret is in the simplicity… It's the perfect meal. It's reasonable, so quick, it fills you up and you can minimize dishes by reheating your sauce in your pasta pot. My secret key ingredient is high quality and organically grown San Mariano, Roma and a blend of other heirloom cooking tomatoes. I do grow these in the summer months, but you can use market or store-bought tomatoes. In a pinch, a can of good, tinned tomatoes will go create the most magical tomato pasta sauce you will ever taste. I suggest spending a Sunday in the summer making and bottling your tomato sauce for the year. Just like the Italian Nonna’s have been doing for generations.

JAR gifted me this beautiful handmade fusilli pasta. Fusilli is a great pasta to hold a sauce that has a little chunk to it but is still runny in some parts. The curves and crevasses hold the sauce so beautifully, so that each bite is the right sauce: pasta ratio. It’s actually a silly pet peeve of mine to have sauce like served on a linguine or spaghetti type pasta. I just end up eating forkfuls of pasta and then having a bowl of Bolognese left there that I’m now too full to eat. Bolognese belongs in shells or something that can hold that lovely chunky pasta sauce. The JAR fusilli works beautifully if you other fresh ingredients are chopped finely enough.

Fusilli is made totally differently from your rolled pastas and it requires a pasta press to make. It's a very pretty process. The pasta dough is also slightly altered - it uses a little more egg and its need for a bit longer. This will build up the gluten that will help hold the pasta together during the boiling process. I have a pasta roller at home, so I do make a lot of my own tagliatelle and lasagne sheets, so it was such a lovely gift to be able to have homemade pasta that I can't make myself.

For the sauce:

I made a massive batch, I am giving you the 1kg quantity so it is easy to replicate and alter into any sized batch. This will yield about 1 litre of finished sauce.

1kg long fleshy over ripe organic heirloom tomatoes (Roma’s or San Mariano’s are my favourite base, with a few other varietals mixed in).

1 tablespoon sea salt 

1 tablespoon of olive oil 

1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

A handful of fresh basil 

Jars and lids that will hold approximately a litre of sauce 

Homegrown Tomatoes

Method:

  1. Blanch and peel the tomatoes. Do not over blanch them, 30 seconds maximum in rapidly boiling water and then straight into an ice bath. I use all these peels in my compost heap - they are a great source of nitrogen for your soil. 
  2. Roughly chop these tomatoes and remove the stem part too. This can also be added to your compost heap.
  3. Heat your olive oil in a big pot big enough for all of your tomatoes. Add your chopped and peeled tomatoes, sea salt and vinegar. Let this simmer for about an hour until the tomatoes break down nicely. I use my potato mashed to help.
  4. About 20 minutes before your sauce is ready, you're going to start sterilizing your jars or bottles. I do this by placing my CLEAN jars in the oven at 160°C for 20 minutes and boiling all the lids separately. 
  5. When the jars are far too hot to handle it's the right time to bottle. Having a good pair of heat resistant gloves is really helpful - you can get by with dish towels but it's messy and not as safe. 
  6. Make sure you fill the hot sauce into the hot jars. Fill these right up to the lid, add your basil leaf (I usually do 1-5 depending on jar size), and tighten your lid. This will ensure no bacteria can get into your beautiful sauce and this will keep unrefrigerated for over a year. The jar lid will also sink down in the centre to indicate it has been sealed properly. If you have a few that have not popped down - you can add the full sealed sauce jar into a pot of boiling water - this will reseal the lid. If that does not work, it may be because your lid is too old to use, or you have not filled your sauce enough. 
  7. When you use this sauce make sure you are breaking the seal of the jar- you will hear a pffffft sound - a release of air - and the top of the jar lid should pop up. If you notice any mould or odd sour smell throw it away immediately - I have had one jar grow mould in a batch of about 40 jars so it's unlikely - but it is not safe to consume if this has happened. 
  8. Heat and enjoy over your favourite JAR pasta with some added fresh basil and parmesan shavings! 

Selection of homegrown tomatoes

Homemade Napoletana Sauce

Napoletana Pasta

    With love from Megs,

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