Sciue’ Sciue’…in Napoletana dialect is simply means “Hurry Up”…more love from the City of Naples. Let this blogpost serve to open some eyes of people who only think an Italian Pasta Sauce made with tomatoes is a long-term prospect. Most Italian tomato sauces are simply never cooked as long as non-Italians (that includes American-Italians) seem to cook their sauces. That long simmer should only be reserved for a tomato sauce that includes meats,like Ragu’ di Bologna (Bolognese) or Ragu’ di Napoli (the prototype for Sunday Sauce from Naples and the south). Most of the other pasta sauces highlight the vibrancy of the tomato,they are fresh tasting. My trips to Italy always have included many pasta dishes where lightly cooked Cherry tomatoes were used. Growing up Cherry Tomatoes were something for salads, antipasto or vegetable platters, delicious snacks, or sometimes if Dad had a bumper crop, would be cooked down and frozen for the winter. But, that was a rarity, they were just not used the same way we used Dad’s plum tomatoes. In Italy they were in so many pasta dishes, including versions of Spaghetti con Vongole Verace, the iconic Spaghetti with local clams. Cherry Tomatoes also come packed in 15oz cans packed in Southern Italy known as POMODORINI. Southern Italians use lots of cherry tomatoes along with the San Marzano and Plum tomatoes. WHO KNEW?? That was a wonderful revelation. I love a good eye opener and since that first trip to Italy in 1986 I’ve been voraciously using Cherry tomatoes in all sorts of Italian ways. Wait. Are you asking yourself, “is A FOOD OBSESSION talking about an out of season item??” Yes, you are correct, WAY out of season for most of the U.S., certainly where I am in the Northeast. Let’s just give you a good reason why I am writing this today… That’s why. I need to think of fresh Summery, outdoorsy foods. Using raw tomatoes is so indicative of the Summer growing season I’m compelled to blog this purely as therapy. It’s March 6 and this morning it was 7 degrees F at home. That’s far from normal after a long record cold February. WHA WHA WHA!!! Crying feels good sometimes! Instead of throwing snowballs I’ll think about summery food since you can find decent grape or Cherry tomatoes in your produce departments through the Winter and marinating them or cooking them even at this time of the year will yield a tasty dish.
SERVES: 4-6 TIME: 30 MINUTES
2 1/2 PINTS WHOLE OR SLICED FRESH CHERRY OR GRAPE TOMATOES
3 TBS. GOOD OLIVE OIL
2 SLICED CLOVES OF GARLIC
KOSHER SALT, BLACK PEPPER
6 FRESH BASIL LEAVES or a PINCH of GOOD DRIED OREGANO
1 LB ITALIAN PASTA, COOKED ACCORDING TO PACKAGE DIRECTIONS BUT KEEP TO THE AL DENTE DIRECTIONS
GRATED ITALIAN CHEESE…MOZZARELLA, PECORINO, RICOTTA SALATA, CACIOCAVALLO, PARMIGIANO..this is up to you…stick with the simplicity of the dish, use only one of them.
in a large skillet heat 2 tbs of the Olive Oil. Add the Tomatoes and cook on medium heat letting them get a bit of color on them. Toss the around a bit..add some salt and pepper to taste and when they are soft (takes about 10 minutes or so) add the garlic. Let this cook for 10 minutes on low. Add the 3 Basil leaves. Now add the al dente Pasta to the pan. Toss well and heat through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat..season with grated cheese, the remaining olive oil and basil leaves..taste for seasoning, add more salt or pepper at this point, not before. So often the cheese will add that additional saltiness you want. Was that SCIUE’ SCIUE’??
Pull up a cup of coffee or a glass of wine now and sit here with me and let’s talk…If there is nothing else I convey to people through my blog and other Social networking/media it’s that there may be more to a cuisine than you’ve been taught or exposed to. The long hours of a Nonna in black standing over a stove or open fire for hours are certainly wonderful and sentimental but hardly the total picture. Many Italian tomato sauces have no herbs in them at all and here in the U.S.A. I see so many dumping that hay ball of “ITALIAN SEASONING” created in the boardroom and corporate food labs of big American food conglomerates. There’s no such thing. Dried oregano is used in ITalian cooking..the other dried herbs are not. Today fresh herbs are available in most places where the population really lives. If you are 100 miles from your nearest neighbor, you are in the minority..most of us live in and around urban/suburban centers and mega Supermarkets and Mega Stores are within an hour’s drive. Fresh herbs can be grown or bought and they will last a while in your fridge, certainly more than 1 week. Use them. Find them. This Sciue’ Sciue’ would be a disaster if you added that green gray ball of dried herbs…what’s allowable is a pinch of dried oregano (PINCH!!! NOT A TEASPOON). That’s ITALIAN, not the other stuff. No longer think of Tomato Sauce for Pasta as a single entity..there are hundreds of regional recipes with a different tomato sauce, and certainly every cook/chef/family has their own personal versions.
PENSARE FUORI LA SCATOLA!!! THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!!!
My Sciue’ Sciue’ pictured was made with DeCecco’s egg GARGANELLI, a delicious pasta.