Aceto Balsamico II
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Sunday Night Pasta with Balsamic Vinegar
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Various Types of Pasta
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Sunday Night Pasta with Balsamic Vinegar
(Pasta di Dominica con Aceto Balsamico)

Lynne Rossetto Kasper
In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs

by Julia Child with Nancy Verde Barr, 1995, Alfred A. Knopf


“Food can be our vital and immediate link,
our way of touching those ‘other’ than ourselves.”

~ Lynne Rossetto Kasper

“In Italy, Sunday night suppers are usually light affairs since everyone has
had a big midday meal with friends out in the country or at a family gathering.
Lynne’s ‘Sunday Night’ supper is a variation on Italy’s popular pasta dressed
with garlic and olive oil, ‘pasta aglio olio; but hers goes a good step farther by blending mellow, slow-cooked garlic with the bright, fresh taste of barely cooked tomatoes, fresh green herbs – and a final anointing with sweet, rich balsamic vinegar. This is a lovely simple basic pasta, typical of the best Italian cooking,
which depends on the beauty of its ingredients. There should be no waiting
around when it’s ready – it is to be served and eaten at once.”

Ingredients for 4 servings as a main course

For slow-cooking the garlic
3 tablespoons excellent olive oil
12 large cloves of garlic, peeled and
cut into 1/2-inch dice
Freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce
7 medium-size ripe red superbly flavored tomatoes
(about 4 pounds) or 4 cups best-quality drained,
 canned peeled plum tomatoes
3/4 cup (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves,
plus a dozen nice leaves
for decoration
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint,
marjoram, and chives

For the pasta
1 pound best-quality (imported durum wheat
semolina) tagliatelle or linguine
6 quarts water, rapidly boiling when you are
ready to cook the pasta
1 1/2 tablespoons salt, plus more if needed

For serving
A generous wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
of which you will need some 25 to 30 shavings,
cut with a vegetable peeler
4 to 6 tablespoons best-quality commercial
balsamic vinegar
Aged Balsamic Vinegars

Special Equipment Suggested: A heavy 12-inch sauté pan, 4 to 5
inches deep (for the garlic and final mixing of pasta); a colander; a
warm pasta bowl and serving bowls; a vegetable peeler for the
cheese; a long-handled spoon and fork (for tossing and serving)

Slow-Cooking the garlic:
Pour enough olive oil into the sauté pan to
film the bottom lightly. Stir in the garlic, season with a sprinkling of salt
and pepper, and cook slowly over low heat. stirring frequently, until the
garlic is soft and barely blond, about 15 minutes. Take great care not to
let it color more than a pale gold; if it browns it will lose its sweetness.
(You may wish to add a little water to the pan – about 1/4 cup – to keep
the garlic from coloring too much.) When soft and blond, cover the pan
and set aside at room temperature.
Academia Barilla 100% Italian Unfiltered Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Ahead-of-Time Note:
The garlic may be cooked several hours in advance.

Preparing the Sauce Ingredients:
If you are using fresh tomatoes, seed and juice them but do not peel,
then cut the pulp into 1/2-inch dice [see below]. For canned tomatoes,
crush them with your hands, reserve about 1/4 cup for garnish, and set
the rest aside in a large bowl. Chop the measured basil leaves roughly,
combine with the other herbs, and set aside next to the tomatoes.

Shortly before serving:
Cooking the Pasta – 7 to 10 minutes.
Pour the salt into the rapidly
boiling pasta water, and taste to be sure it is just right for you. Drop in
the pasta, give it a quick stir, and cover the pan to return the water quick-
ly back to the high boil. Then uncover the pan. Begin to test and taste the
pasta as soon as it begins to bend when you lift a piece. It will be done
when it is tender, yet slightly firm, but not brittle to the bite – al dente. Undercooked pasta is disappointing, while overcooked pasta is limp and characterless. You are the judge - get a second opinion if you have doubts.
As the pasta cooks, scoop out half a cup of the pasta water, pour it in the
pan with the garlic, and set the pan over moderate heat. Make sure your
serving bowl and dishes are hot, and that all is ready at the table, including your guests.
Finale and Serving:
The very minute that the pasta is cooked, drain it and turn it into the garlic pan along with the herbs. Proceeding rapidly, toss the pasta with salt and pepper as needed, then toss with the prepared tomatoes. Carefully correct seasoning again. Using the vegetable peeler, shave a dozen
or so thin slivers of Parmesan over the pasta, transfer it to the heated bowl, scatter the reserved basil leaves and tomatoes on top, and bring to the table. Dramatically shave more cheese over the pasta, and lastly the glorious drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Toss again several times with feeling, and serve at once.


Julia’s Notes on Peeling, Seeding, and Juicing Tomatoes

Blanching Before Peeling: One or two at a time, drop the tomatoes into a 3-quart saucepan of rapidly boiling water, bring rapidly back to the boil, and boil exactly
10 seconds. Immediately remove with a slotted spoon and drop them into a bowl
of cold water. (Unless you have a caldron of boiling water, blanch no more than
one or two at a time, or they’ll start to cook, and will not peel cleanly.
Peeling: Cut out the stem piece with a small knife, cut a 1/2-inch cross in the
skin at the other end, and strip off the peel. (You may want to save the peels
for a tomato sauce, since peel intensifies the red color as well as imparting a
little flavor.)
Seeding and Juicing: You can cut a peeled tomato in half crosswise and,
holding one half, cut side down, gently squeeze out juice and seeds, poking
out the remaining seeds from the interstices with your little finger. This is
fine for most purposes, like the tomato sauce in [the recipe above]. If you
need fancy decorative arrangements of tomato, however, you’ll want to
follow the path below.
Fancy Cutting: When you need really neat dice or matchstick-size julienne,
quarter the peeled tomato through the stem end and halve the quarters length-
wise into wedges. Lay each wedge flat on your work surface and skillfully slide
your knife just under the pulp and seeds to remove them, leaving you with a
smooth wedge of flesh which you can then cut any way you wish.

Saucing the Remains: Except for the stem pieces, save all the remains for
sauce; freeze them if you are not making one at the moment.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Marcella Hazan on Matching Pasta to Sauce 
Linguine with Spinach, Garlic and
Olive Oil (Union Square Cafe)

Tomato Sauce 101

A Tribute to Julia Child
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