(Note: Tina and I have been friends for decades. Back when the rest of us were experiencing the culinary awakening of Prego after years of Kraft boxed spaghetti, Tina was preparing multi-course dinners. Her entire extended family cooks lots of good stuff. This is one of her little Sicilian grandma’s recipes. Enjoy! ~ Cindy)
This dish may help ward off a cold, mosquitos, vampires, and all but those who truly love you!
Ingredients needed are pictured. That’s a pound and a quarter of tomatoes, and a good and large garlic pod. Remaining ingredients are rather self-explanatory.
Quality is needed here: Get the good stinky cheese if you can find it. You’d be better off buying a loose head of garlic rather than the boxed variety. If you’re lucky, you still have some pods left from the farmer’s market.
Do you know much about stinky cheese, by the way? It’s made from sheep’s milk (pecora=sheep), and in medieval times–and still sometimes today in parts of Italy, although it’s illegal–there was/is an interesting additive to the cheese. Go Google it. The cheese is made in very specific Italian provinces, such as Sardinia, Tuscany, Lazio, and has Protected Designation of Origin status there, I suppose similar to “Vidalia” onion production here. If you have not had it, please try it. It is good stuff.
So the good ‘n stinky sheep’s milk Romano is not local. Sorry. But if you live in STL, you sure can visit Viviano’s on The Hill for this cheese: http://www.shopviviano.com/imported-romano-pecorino-chunk/.
GETTING ON WITH THE RECIPE:
Peel and halve one whole, entire large pod of garlic. The whole dang thing:
Quarter the tomatoes:
Add garlic to the blender and PUREE! Squeeze tomato innards into the blender if the garlic is sticking to the sides.
Once the garlic is sufficiently pureed, add tomatoes, olive oil, salt & pepper to the blender and blend to desired consistency. .
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in heavily salted water to al dente stage. BEFORE DRAINING PASTA, RESERVE ONE CUP OF STARCHY WATER AND SET ASIDE.
Grate a nice big pile o’ stinky cheese:
Now assemble by adding the pasta to a nice, big baking dish or pasta bowl. Stir in the sauce. Here’s where you can add some of the reserved pasta water if you need … in case that pasta got sticky. It’s meant to be room temperature.
TOP WITH A LOT OF STINKY CHEESE, GARNISH WITH FRESH BASIL IF YOU HAVE IT, AND ENJOY!
In Tina’s own words:
1 lb medium shells
1 large pod garlic
1 1/4 lbs fresh maters roughly chopped
3 or so Tbls EVOO
Grated/shredded pecorino (stinky cheese)
Fresh ground pepper
Salt for water
Peel and halve garlic and puree in blender. I use some of the mater innards in this step to keep the garlic from sticking. Then add maters , EVOO & pepper to blender and mix until desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky. Heavily salt water and boil pasta until al dente. This is very important, be sure to leave an inch of the pasta water in the pot. I always pour some in a bowl in case I drain too much initially and it is also good to moisten any leftovers before refrigerating. Top with lots o stinky cheese….:)
Thanks, Tina, for the recipe and the pictures!