Spaghetti (Recipe: spaghetti with basil pesto, tomato and olives)
I don't know why, but I almost never cook spaghetti anymore.
Some time in the 1970s, I switched from spaghetti to linguine because it was a favorite of The Frugal Gourmet, who was a favorite of mine. And then, in the 1990s, when I started eating more of my everyday meals with chopsticks, I switched from linguine to fusilli (little corkscrews), which are easier to grab.
A few years ago, I switched from fusilli to rotini, because Dreamfields makes its delicious low-carb pasta in that twisty shape.
Dreamfields also makes spaghetti, so this year I've put spaghetti back in our pasta rotation.
The two long and stringy pastas, spaghetti and linguine, are almost interchangeable, and I use the same sauces -- traditional tomato based as well as Asian-inspired -- for both. The difference, apart from the fact that one is round and one is flat, is that everyone remembers spaghetti and meatballs from childhood.
Linguine and meatballs? Not so much.
What is spaghetti?
Pasta made from semolina and water (and sometimes eggs) formed into long, thin, solid (not hollow), round strands.
How/where to store?
Dried spaghetti: store in the original box or bag, in the cupboard, for a year or more. Remove leftover dried spaghetti from the box or bag, and place in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, or in a ziploc bag. Fresh spaghetti: must be refrigerated.
Facts about spaghetti, and ingredient photographs, on The Perfect Pantry:
Linguine, spaghetti (Recipe: pasta with clams and vegetable sauce)
Spaghetti with basil pesto, tomato and olives
If you make pesto in the summer, when the basil is overtaking your garden, freeze it without the cheese. When you find the container in your freezer in the middle of winter, it will make your heart sing. Good quality store-bought pesto works well in this recipe, too, and it all comes together in the time it takes the pasta to cook. Serves 4.
1 lb dry spaghetti
1 cup basil pesto, homemade (recipe below) or store-bought
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for garnish
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 plum tomatoes, diced
12 black olives, halved
A pinch of fresh black pepper
A few fresh basil leaves for garnish, in season
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large stockpot over high heat. Add the spaghetti, stir, and cook for 9 minutes, until the spaghetti is al dente ("firm to the tooth").
While the spaghetti is cooking, make the pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Place basil, nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse until chopped. With the machine running, add olive oil in a stream until the pesto has the consistency of a nice sauce.
Add the pesto, parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, tomatoes and olives to a large mixing bowl. Stir gently to combine.
Drain the spaghetti, leaving a bit of the cooking water clinging to it, and add to the bowl with the sauce. Toss gently; the heat of the spaghetti will melt the cheese. Season with black pepper. Top with basil leaves, if you have them, and grated cheese.
Other recipes that use spaghetti:
Spaghetti with cheese and black pepper, from Smitten Kitchen
Spaghetti salad, from Cooking with Amy
Gluten-free Italian meatballs with basil pesto pasta, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Whole wheat spaghetti with Italian sausage, red peppers and hot pepper flakes, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Spaghetti alla Bolognese, from What's For Lunch, Honey?