SPAGHETTI IN TOMATO APPLE SAUCE

by - 3:14 PM

Tomato-and-apple sauce might sound odd to you, but not so in Trentino–Alto Adige,
one of the most northerly regions of Italy, known for its delicious apples. While
researching for Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy, I ended up climbing an apple tree
in Trentino–Alto Adige to harvest the perfect apples for this recipe. What fun, and I
admit I ate a few while I was up the tree.
SERVES 6
3 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large stalks celery, cut into ¼-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta pot
1 pound tart and firm apples, such as Granny Smith
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for
passing
Pour the canned tomatoes into a food processor or blender, and purée until smooth.
Pour 4 tablespoons of the olive oil into a skillet, set it over medium heat, and strew
the celery and onion in the pan. Cook and stir the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until
they wilt and start to caramelize.
Stir in the puréed tomatoes, season with the salt, and heat to a bubbling simmer.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or so. As the tomatoes perk, peel and core the
apples, and remove the seeds. Shred them, using the coarse holes of a shredder or grater.
When the tomatoes have cooked about 5 minutes, stir the apples into the sauce. Bring
the skillet back to a simmer, and cook the sauce, uncovered, for about 15 minutes,
stirring now and then, until it has reduced and thickened and the apple shreds are
cooked and tender.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, drop in the spaghetti,
and cook it until just al dente. Lift the spaghetti from the water, let drain for a moment,
and drop it into the warm sauce. (Reheat if necessary.)
Toss the pasta with the sauce for a minute or two, until all the strands are coated and
perfectly al dente. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the grated cheese over the pasta, and toss
well. Drizzle over it the remaining olive oil, toss once again, and heap the pasta in
warm bowls. Serve immediately, passing more cheese at the table.

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