I am sometimes asked why I take the long route in the preparation of my foods. My answer is always because I like to know what’s in my food and of course, what I usually prepare from scratch, often taste so much better. The recipe below should prove my point.

 

Ingredients:

2 lbs. fresh tomatoes (I like heirloom varieties for their authentic flavor and sweetness)

½ cup chopped shallot.

1 tsp fresh chopped parsley

1 tsp fresh chopped oregano (I like Greek)

2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup dry red wine

1 tsp black truffle salt (you may add more to taste)

1 tsp dark maple syrup

½ tsp ground black pepper (I use Grains of Paradise). I like to add pepper last to gauge if I need more.

5-6 chopped basil leaves (I use a mixture of sweet and African Nunum)

Method:

Wash and cut top of tomatoes in a cross shape. Place in glass bowl. Pour hot water over the tomatoes to start removing their skins. When water is cool enough to handle, peel the skin of the tomatoes, then squeeze out their seeds. Place tomatoes on a cutting board and cut into ½ inch pieces. Set in a medium to large saucepan. To the saucepan, add shallots, parsley, oregano, olive oil, red wine, black truffle salt, dark maple syrup, and ground black pepper. Simmer on low while checking on this often. In the meantime, boil a package of spaghetti until the noodles become al dente in texture. When cooked, strain and save about two tablespoons of pasta water to add to sauce just a bit later. In about 20-30 minutes all ingredients for the sauce should be reduced into a chunky-type texture. Add the two tablespoons pasta water to this mixture and let cook for another 30 seconds or so. If you prefer, a more liquefied sauce, let the sauce simmer for another 2 minutes. Add five chopped basil, then add cooked spaghetti to the pot and stir until completely covered with sauce. Place in bowl or on a serving plate and add finely grated real parmesan cheese, and add the last chopped basil leaf. Serve warm!

What makes this recipe work? The dark maple syrup is a heathier option than white sugar and offers a rich taste to the sauce. I don’t like too much garlic; therefore, the black truffle salt gives this recipe a slightly garlicky taste with the unique flavor of truffles. You can find truffle salt at a specialty shop, or I believe it is also available on Amazon. Finally, if you don’t have time to peel tomatoes, two cans of whole organic tomatoes (though not as tastier than fresh heirlooms), work too. Enjoy 🙂