The new cookbook arrived in the midst of apple picking season, so the recipe for Spaghetti in Tomato Apple caught my eye right away. Now, apples cooked with tomatoes to make a pasta sauce does sound a bit strange at first. No offense to us bloggers, but if I came across the idea on an unknown blog I'd just chuckle and pass on by. But when I saw it featured in Lidia's Favorite Recipes: 100 Foolproof Italian Dishes, from Basic Sauces to Irresistible Entrees, I had to give it a closer look. Lidia explains that this combination is common in the apple laden Alto Adige region of Northern Italy. That was good enough for me, and I'm glad I gave it a try! This is a refreshing tomato sauce with a nice bright taste. The apple flavor is not distinctive but rather contributes to the overall impression that this is something other than your typical pasta sauce. This follows Lidia's recipe almost exactly, with a slight reduction in the celery called for; and the wording of the instructions slightly tweaked.
|an unlikely combo!|
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium celery stalk, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb tart green apple, like Granny Smith
1 lb spaghetti
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste
Puree the tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Pour 4 tbsp olive oil into a skillet on medium heat. Add the celery and onion to the pan. Cook until the onions begin to soften and caramelize, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the pureed tomatoes, season with a bit of salt. As the tomatoes begin to simmer, peel and core the apples, removing seeds. Shred the apples, using coarse holes of a shredder or grater.
When the tomatoes have cooked about 5 minutes, stir the apples into the sauce. Bring the skillet back to simmer, and cook the sauce uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring a bit here and there, until it has begun to thinkcn and the apple shreds are cooked and tender.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, drop in the spaghetti, and cook it until al dente. Strain the pasta and combine with the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce for a minute or two, until it is thoroughly coated and cooked just right. Turn off heat, sprinkle the grated cheese over the pasta and toss well. Serve the pasta immediately, passing extra cheese at the table.
Wine pairing: Though I failed to note or tweet the wine we had with this dish when I made it a couple of weeks ago, I seem to recall having a Dolcetto and it working pretty well. Though that puts you in the same country as Alto Adige, I'm thinking a wine from the region would be nice. It so happens last night we had a red from Alto Adige, a 2010 Muri-Gries Alto Adige Santa Maddalena. This is a blend of the local grapes Schiavae and Lagrein. It has a light, fresh quality to it that I think would work with the dish. I didn't test the pairing yet so can't vouch for it! Let me know if you try this or another pairing that works.
Full disclosure: I received a review copy of the book. My adventures with the recipes and opinions of my book are fully my own!