Spaghetti in tomato and basil sauce with caramelised walnuts and mushrooms
I’m a fool for spaghetti. I love it in any form – dunked in drippy, chunky tomato sauce or simply sprinkled with exceptional parmesan cheese or gently tossed in olive oil or gracefully lying in pesto, topped with black olives. Any kind of warm spaghetti is spaghetti enough.
When I make it at home, I try to do it as differently as possible from last time. I play around with sauces, pair it with random ingredients, toss it in flavoured oils and do with it, what I wouldn’t do with penne, farfelle or any other kind of pasta. Because unlike its shapely cousins, spaghetti holds little sauce and always remains the hero of the dish.
Today, I made the spaghetti with the classic tomato and basil sauce. To give the dish some spunk, I tossed some fresh mushrooms and walnuts in homemade caramel and served it alongside.
Ingredients: 1 cup spaghetti (boiled), 1 small tomato (finely chopped), 4 garlic pods (roughly chopped), ¼ cup Italian basil leaves, 2-3 tablespoon olive oil, ½ cup walnuts (halved), ½ cup mushrooms (roughly diced), ½ tablespoon butter, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 tablespoon water, black pepper and sea salt for seasoning, 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
Method: In a pan heat olive oil and add garlic. Tip-in the tomatoes and season it with some sea salt. Let the tomatoes sizzle for about seven to eight minutes and add the hand-torn basil leaves to it. Stir the mixture well and let it simmer until the tomatoes look well-cooked. You can add extra olive oil if the mixture feels too dry. Let this sauce rest for a while and give it a quick/small whisk in the grinder. Toss the boiled spaghetti in the sauce and keep it aside.
Now take a heavy-bottomed pan and melt the butter. To this, add sugar, water and keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Once the caramel gets rich, thick and golden brown, stop stirring. Drop the walnut halves into this hot liquid and coat them well. Add the mushrooms and let them absorb all the leftover caramel. Season this with a pinch of salt and pepper.
To plate, place the saucy spaghetti along with the caramalised walnuts and mushrooms. Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top and serve hot.