Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Capers & Basil

Busy days are here again. When a heat wave strikes the city, rest-assured, ‘beer gardens’ as what many Filipinos coin them; begin to open the patio sections of their restaurants to accommodate awaiting patrons seeking for the sun outside. Drinking and conversing are the way to go on a hot, summer day here in the city.

Summer here is extremely short, and I’m not sure if I had mentioned before; each weekend or extra weekend thereafter is precious and rigorously planned. In my case, it’s the season I work days and nights and pretty much nothing else. By fall or winter, my schedule becomes less stressful and more manageable. Summer is just crazy; no matter how short or long my shifts would be.

Anyway, work is relatively easy, but with volume that’s about three times as much as the usual, the whole story of the ballgame changes. Moreover, operating hours are longer, following the longer day shorter night pattern, and of course, work demand rises along with it. With almost the same man hours, workload for each one in the line becomes tremendously stressful. This is the basic reason why I really look forward to fall. Kids are back to school and everything becomes normal for those involved in operations.

Since my time has been stretched until late in the evening, my time in my own kitchen diminishes as well. For this basic reason, cooking for myself becomes more of a chore than an enjoyment. And, I really don’t want that to happen. I’d like to sit down, relax and enjoy my food. I avoid fastfood as much as possible. I’d eat a Shawarma every now and then, but that’s about it. I don’t consider fastfood as real food. I don’t understand how North Americans can eat those almost everyday.

To make this happen, I’d be starting a series of easy-to-cook pasta dishes. I just love pasta! It’s simple, straightforward, healthy, and satisfying. I have somehow cut down on my rice intake too, and have switched to a higher protein, more vegetables diet lately. Leaning towards this kind of diet led me to re-think my daily food requirements for the week. This brought me back to Italian Pasta dishes which, somehow, I am re-discovering lately.

1/3 of a box of Spaghetti
2-3 Pcs. of Ripe Roma Tomatoes, Diced
2-3 Cloves of Garlic, Diced
Lemon Juice
Dried Basil
Assorted Cheese (Parmesan, Mozzarella & Cheddar)
Salt & Ground Black Pepper
Olive Oil

Optional: Fresh Basil/Anchovies

Start a pot of heavily salted water, and cook the Spaghetti based on the required time indicated in the package. Strain, and set aside about a cup of pasta water.

In a hot pan, start sautéing the garlic in olive oil until aromatic. Add in the Roma Tomatoes, followed by the dried herbs. Continue seasoning while sautéing. Add some pasta water followed by the Spaghetti. Squeeze some lemon juice thereafter

Toss and stir and add the cheese. Set it on a plate. Drizzle with Olive Oil and garnish with fresh basil.

Fresh anchovies can be sautéed with the garlic. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any in the grocery, and I forgot to buy some Fresh Basil.