Spaghetti with Ginger-Tomato Sauce . . .

- LCBO Food & Drink magazine


Fresh ginger is rare in Italian cooking; however, it can be found in a few dishes from the south, like this punchy pasta adapted from River Cafe Cookbook Green by Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray (Ebury Press, 2000). Ricotta salata is a mild, firm sheep’s milk cheese, which is available at select cheesemongers and Italian food shops like


Serves 4 to 6


Ingredients . . .

1 can (798 mL) whole Italian plum tomatoes

4 tbsp (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped garlic

2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped ginger

1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried chili flakes, or more to taste

Salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar to taste

1 lb (455 g) Italian dried spaghettini

3/4 cup (175 mL) freshly grated ricotta salata, plus more for serving

1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped mint, plus more for serving


1. Empty contents of tomato can into a mixing bowl. Gently crush tomatoes with hands, removing any stray bits of skin and tough core. Set aside


2. In a large, heavy-bottom pot, heat 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring often, so it sizzles but doesn’t brown, for 2 minutes. Add chili flakes. Cook 10 seconds. Stir in tomatoes. Raise heat to medium-high. When it starts bubbling, adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and delicious, about  30 minutes. Season lightly with salt and generously with pepper. If it’s tart, add enough sugar to soften. Keep warm over low heat.


3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to instructions on package. Drain and add to sauce. Add remaining 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, cheese and mint. Mix thoroughly. Taste for salt.


4. Serve in warmed bowls sprinkled with more cheese and mint.