Preparation: BLANCH, seed, and peel the tomatoes. Cut them into chunks. Remove the stems from the basil and roughly tear the leaves.
PEEL and dice the carrot, celery and onion.
PEEL and MINCE the garlic.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat. Sauté the carrot, onion, celery, and garlic in a skillet until the onions are golden. Add the tomatoes and basil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Cook for 40 minutes.
GRATE the cheese.
Bring a large pot of lightly-salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti "al dente." Drain it and transfer it to a serving plate. Spoon the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle the top with grated cheese. Serve while hot.
Notes: Although tomatoes only arrived in Italy at the end of the 16th century (via Mexico), they have become a staple in Italian cooking. It was in Naples that some of the first tomato-based recipes were developed.
Spaghetti 1 lb/
Fresh ripe tomatoes (preferably plum) 1 1/2 lb
Fresh basil leaves 3
Small carrot 1
Small onion 1
Garlic clove 1
Celery stalk 1
Olive oil 1/2 cup/
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste