Tomato season is achingly close, but it's not here yet—not in New York, at least. I've resisted the temptation to eat fresh tomatoes for months, except maybe a cherry variety once in awhile. Soon I'll be chopping up the ones in my garden, tossing them in a bowl with olive oil, garlic and basil leaves, and waiting around for everything to marinate. Mix it all with pasta and call it a day.
In the meantime, this recipe for spaghetti with tomato and orange juice from The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces, traditionally called spaghetti al pomodoro e arancia, has a unique, summery take on canned-based tomato sauce. Adding a little sugar to cut the acidity of tomatoes is common in cooking, but this was the first time I've read about using sweet juicing oranges instead of sugar. The citrus notes round out the flavors and make the pasta feel summery and fresh, rather than dull and canned. It also gives it a natural sweetness.
About the author: Blake Royer lives in Brooklyn and spends most of his free time cooking and writing about it here at Serious Eats and on The Paupered Chef. From 9 to 5 weekdays, he works as an assistant book editor in Manhattan.
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 4 basil leaves
- 14 ounce canned whole peeled tomatoes
- Salt to taste
- Juice of 1 orange
Heat the oil over medium heat and add the slightly crushed garlic and whole herbs. Cook for a few minutes until softened, then add the tomatoes with their juice. Crushing with a fork in the pan, cook rapidly for 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Add the orange juice and cook for an additional 3 minutes, then remove the garlic and herbs and blend or process the sauce.
In the meantime, cook the spaghetti to al dente. Toss with the sauce and serve.