Friday, February 17, 2006

Super Simple #1 - Spaghetti with Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Salad

How often does it happen that you're at home, hungry, with no mood to go to the grocery store?

On a night like that, I often check what's in the fridge and try to come up with some quick and simple dish. I had some leftovers of oven roasted, marinated tomatoes which i bought for appetizers a few days ago at Whole Foods. If you're ever in the area, the Beverly Hills Cheese Store has really fantastic roasted/marinated tomatoes, but the ones from Whole Foods aren't bad either.

Then i had a bit of fresh spinach left, a handful of the herb salad mix from Trader Joe's and a few cherry tomatoes, the perfect ingredients for a nice salad.

I always make sure I have some basic ingredients like spaghetti, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, and in no time, you can create a wonderful tasting dish that's fast enough to prepare so you won't starve while cooking.

Especially when it comes to those simple dishes, I can't stress enough how important it is that you're using good quality ingredients! It just simply makes a big difference.

for 2 people:


about 100-125 g (3,5-4 oz) spaghetti per person
about 10-20 oven roasted/marinated tomatoes
2 big cloves of garlic, crushed
1 hot chili (if you received one of my spice boxes, that's the time to use one of those thai chilies!)
4-6 tablespoons good quality olive oil
pinch of dried marjoram or oregano
parmesan cheese, (freshly) ground
salad, any type you might have in your fridge
freshly ground salt and pepper


Start by making the sauce. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the
whole chili and the crushed garlic (crush garlic by pressing on it with the flat side of a knife), reduce the heat to medium and sauté for about 5 minutes, then add the roasted tomatoes. Make sure the garlic doesn't burn, otherwise it will get bitter. At this point, you can also add some dried herbs you might have on your shelf. Marjoram or oregano go well with the roasted tomatoes.

The longer you sauté, the more flavor you will have in your sauce. The more hungry you are, the shorter you will probably simmer your sauce! But i would recommend to simmer it for at least 15-20 minutes total over low heat.

In the meantime, heat water in a big pan, once it's boiling, add a bit of salt and oil. Add the spaghetti and stir to make sure they don't stick together.

Prepare the salad, mix
together all the different kinds of leaves and tomatoes you might have. I like to make a simple italian dressing by just adding a good balsamic vinegar, olive oil, freshly ground pepper and maybe a few pinches of dried herbs, like an italian seasoning mix.

Remove the spaghetti from the water when they're al-dente or slightly before! That's one of the most important things about this dish, do not overcook spaghetti, it will ruin the dish.

Pour the sauce over your spaghetti on the plates, sprinkle with parmesan cheese (freshly ground would be best) and serve with the salad on the side. The Ripasso wine from Trader Joe's would go well with this and only costs $6.99.

Another dish has been added to the "super simple" series of dishes. Check out the Röschti.


At 1:42 PM, Blogger KT Did said...

Hi Dan, I am very lucky that I have both Traders & Whole Foods & Pacific Ranch Market with great quality foods. Its amazing how simple foods are turned into a great dinner. I have yet to try your spices, have been doing a lot of riding, going up north tomorrow for a week than back ready to relax and cook and try out all your spices/recipes with a great wine.
Thanks Dan

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Andrea said...


At 1:49 PM, Blogger Blu~ said...

O.K. now I'm especially hungry...! I really liked the jam and would like to maybe get some more of it in a bigger jar. Can you send me info on this, thanks Dan....


At 9:22 PM, Anonymous waka said...

Hi, Dan.
That looks really simple and tasty, especially I am a big fan of any kinds of tomato food...I'm thinking about going to the whole foods this weekend, if you have any idea, let me know what stuff I should buy there.

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Dan said...

that's going to be a looooong shopping list... :-)
veggies, fruits, fish are all of exceptional quality. i'll email you a longer list.


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