Spaghetti with tomato and apple sauce


This a summery dish from Northern Italy that I really wish I had discovered years ago. Adding apples to the tomatoes in this recipe adds freshness and crispness to the sauce and it picks up the fruitiness of the olive oil. Don’t skip the addition of olive oil at the end.

I have tried to purée the entire sauce at the very end to have a smooth texture and doing so removes the zing that the sauce should have. I suggest keeping the consistency as is. This time around, I was all out of celery so I replaced it with fennel (go figure, I had fennel but not celery) and it turned out as good as usual.

You will need:

6 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
3 green apples (Granny Smith)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano

Method:

1. Cook the onion and celery in 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat until they start to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
2. During that time, purée the tomatoes in a blender or a food processor until smooth.
3. Add the tomato purée to the cooked onions and celery and stir well. Add the salt and cook for 5 minutes.
4. While it is cooking, peel, core and grate the apples on the coarse side of a grater.
5. Add the grated apples to the sauce and cook for another 15 minutes, uncovered.
6. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add enough salt. Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package.
7. Drain the spaghetti and mix well with the sauce. Add more extra-virgin olive oil at this point. I usually add more than the recommended 3 tablespoons. Add the cheese and combine. Serve in warm bowls with more cheese at the table.

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