Typically when I make Spaghetti Alla Marinara, it usually involves roughly chopped tomatoes, garlic, random vegetables from the produce drawer, and a handful of Barilla pasta —all thrown together in two pots and ready to eat in 20 minutes. When my friend Josh suggested that we make spaghetti for dinner, I had no idea I was in for an authentically lengthy Italian experience.
While picking up a bottle of wine from Di Palo’s in Little Italy, we asked Lou Di Palo for a pasta recommendation. “This will be the best pasta you have ever tasted,” he assured us, presenting us with a burgundy box of perfectly coiled dried pasta. “You can even eat it plain, it’s that good.” Tonnarelli is similar to Spaghetti, except it has a square cross section rather than a circular one. Convinced by his testimonial, we headed back to my place to make a simple Marinara sauce to accompany the pasta.
Josh very slowly and gingerly peeled 5 Roma tomatoes. Meanwhile, I feverishly minced the garlic. “Um Josh.. can we do this a little quicker? I’m getting hungry!” I quipped impatiently. “Veronica, if we make this quickly it won’t taste good. You have to put love and care into the sauce,” Josh replied, gesturing with a half-peeled tomato in his hand.
Let the sauce reduce for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. By this point in the night, it was close to 9 pm and I was so ravenous that I began to gnaw on a few of the figs I had sitting on my counter to subdue my hunger.
We let the sauce reduce for 20 minutes, watching the tomatoes melt and liquefy into a chunky, viscous consistency. The sauce reduced a lot, sinking an inch down from where it originally was in the pan, so if you like your pasta saucy, use more a few more tomatoes.
FINALLY, the pasta was complete! Just as I was at the brink of collapse, we filled our plates, crawled up the stairs to the roof and filled our howling stomachs with pasta. Lou was right, it was some of the best pasta I’ve tasted — a perfectly buoyant texture with a rich egg flavor, and of course it was further enhanced with the lovingly made Marinara sauce. And I have to admit, this was all totally worth the wait.
Di Palo’s Fine Foods
200 Grand St
(between Mott St & Mulberry St)
New York, NY 10013