My little sister Carol holding my nephew Adam, Me, My beautiful Mama Carolann, and brother- in-law Billy Ferrara aka Sylvester Stallone, our family's Hollywood Look Alike!This is one of my favorite comfort foods and it all started with one of my earliest "Food Comfort" memories. My Mom had planned a birthday party for me at a pizza parlor, I was turning 8, and no one showed up and I mean no one. I was so sad sitting there at that red checkered tablecloth in my fancy dress glancing at the entrance every 5 minutes just hoping for atleast one friend to show. But no need to worry, because I had my big Italian family and an even bigger bowl of spaghetti & rich red tomato sauce to comfort me. I remember my Mom saying in Italian, "Poveda Annuccia" which loosely translates to "Poor Pitiful Little Annie" then my Dad taking cue and getting me a plate of spaghetti and teaching me how to properly eat it, twirling it around the fork and slurping it in allowing the last piece of pasta to slap against your chin! Before long we were all gathered around the table slurping spaghetti, laughing, and making memories.
Spaghetti and tomato sauce is great for when you have to feed a crowd and was one of the first meals I served to guests in my own home and I still prepare this for my family and friends on a pretty regular basis. All you need to make it a complete meal is a salad, some bread, and Parmesan cheese. Oh yeah, a bottle of red table wine never hurts.
1 pound Italian ziti
2-28 ounce cans Crushed Italian Tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup of Fresh Basil (1/2 reserved)
1 handful fresh parsley chopped
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
salt & pepper
1/2 small onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon butter reserved to add at end
Mince the garlic and chop the onion finely.
Heat up the pan to medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom.
Saute the onion with salt until soft and translucent. You want a low slow cooking as to not brown the onion.
Add garlic and stir it so it does not burn while sauteing it until soft and tender, not brown.
Add the oregano rubbing it between your hands to release the oils. Stir allowing it to heat up and release more oils.
Pour in wine, turn up heat and cook out alcohol for a few minutes.
Add tomatoes, pepper, half the basil-torn into smaller pieces, and parsley, stir, taste for salt, and bring to a bubble.
*Note: At this point I also like to a piece of left over Parmigiana rind. I freeze the rinds in small chunks. I seem to never run out and this adds so much flavor!
Lower heat to allow for a slow bubbly simmer.
Cook stirring here and there until it reduces and becomes a thick sauce, about 11/2-2 hours or more.
Serve right away or once it is thick enough turn to low, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for as long as you desire.
Just before serving add the other half of basil and the butter to the sauce and stir.
Cook the ziti in plenty of well salted water until Al Dente and drain but do not rinse.
In a large serving bowl place half the sauce with the steaming pasta and toss until well coated.
Serve with more sauce on the side and freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano!