As I mentioned in this week’s intro, this was called LA Spaghetti when I was a child. It comes from the Los Angeles Times in 1988 or so, when we were living in LA for six months while my dad did a sabbatical at UCLA. We lived in an apartment building on Reseda Boulevard, and I remember falling in the creek in the courtyard, walking with my mom on the pedestrian bridges over LA’s unbelievable vehicle traffic to get to Trader Joe’s, and very little else. (I was seven.)
But this has been one of my family’s favorite meals since then, and now it’s one of Greg’s – it’s one of the very few things he requests I make. I’ve played with the recipe over the years, especially the proportions, and we eagerly look forward to the start of tomato season so we can make this. This time I happened to have homemade tomato-basil fettucine from the farmer’s market, so we used that, and it was divine. The pasta was a rich deep red when we started, but the color faded in the water.
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 T pine nuts, chopped (note: over the years, I’ve increased this to nearly 1/2 cup, since we LOVE pine nuts, and I can buy a big bag of them really cheaply at Costco)
- 6-8 tomatoes, roughly diced
- salt, pepper, a little sugar
- 1/4 c goat cheese
- 2 T butter
- fresh basil and/or parsley
- 3/4 lb pasta
Start the water for the pasta, because the sauce comes together pretty quickly, and chop all the ingredients in the meantime. Add the pasta to the water when it boils; when the pasta is about half cooked, heat a little olive oil over pretty high heat. When it shimmers, add the garlic and stir immediately; as soon as you can smell the garlic (no more than 30 seconds), add the pine nuts, and toss those around as well. In another 30 seconds or so, add the tomatoes all at once – it will sizzle and spit. Turn down the heat a bit and let the sauce simmer for a few minutes, add salt, pepper, and a little bit of sugar. Add the goat cheese and let it melt, then the butter, then the basil and/or parsley. Toss with the cooked pasta.