What matters?

Does what kind of bra it is matter?
If somebody tried to hand you some slingshot that came in a ten pack tube, I don’t care if the whole thing was 50 cents, you would throw that ten pack back on the pile and keep walking. You need to do the same with your tomatoes. Just because they are in a can and they are called tomatoes, does not make them equal. What you are looking for is San Marzano. San Marzano is not the brand, it’s the variety, and it is a deep red plum tomato that is going to give you the flavor that you need to stand up and be proud of what you put your time into.
They can be hard to find, but I know that if enough people can explain the situation clearly to their grocer you will begin to see San Marzano canned tomatoes on the grocery shelves.
When you get them, here is what you make: Penne arrabiata with jumbo shrimp.
Use the best extra virgin olive oil that you can get your hands on. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Lay out about a pound of shrimp on a big piece of wax paper. Season them with kosher salt so that each shrimp gets the right amount. Seasoning in a bowl is no guarantee that each shrimp will be properly seasoned. Mince three to four cloves of garlic and saute them in a big heavy frying pan until they are blonde over a low heat with a few sprigs of fresh oregano. When they are just beginning to color, add a few red pepper flakes and a 28 ounce can of tomatoes that you have crushed with your hands. Let the sauce cook down for about fifteen minutes. Pour nine ounces of pasta to the boiling water adn cook until al dente. Add the shrimp to the tomatoes. As soon as the edges look white, turn and cook for a few more seconds. Turn off the heat. Drizzle the shrimp and sauce with a little more olive oil and taste for salt. When the pasta is done, drain well and add to the shrimp. Serve immediately with crusty bread and broccoli rabe. The better the olive oil, the better everything else will be. And don’t forget the pasta. Throw the Ronzoni away or give it to someone who cant chew very well. Buy De Cecco or any brand that can truly call itself a noodle.

3 thoughts on “What matters?

  1. I was just having the bra discussion with my husband! I had been wondering about these tomatoes — I’ll see if I can find them…shrimp (darn fine wild Gulf shrimp) I can get.

  2. Thank you! When I hear people talk about how they put tablespoons of sugar in their sauce I tell them to buy better tomatoes. My local grocery store used to sell organic San Marzanos and my sauces always had the best texture. Alas, no more…

    I prefer Barilla to De Cecco because I think that the texture is firmer and it stays al dente for a longer time.

    I promised my Dear Readers my recipe for Pasta Puttanesca about 2 months ago – I need to do that soon (been eating fresh tomato sauce or veggies [rapini, broccoli, etc]). I too break up the tomatoes with my hands.

    Thanks for the great post!

  3. Beautiful. Do you know why so many canned varieties of San Marzanos include a basil leaf? I’ve never been able to figure that out. If I wanted some basil, I could just add my own, not that I necessarily mind the little addition.

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