Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pasta al Pomodoro

I know you will think this is just a red sauce, but it's more than that, even in it's simplicity--that's kind of the point of this blog--simple and cheap, but good and satisfying.  Once you make the sauce, the partially cooked pasta is directly heated in the sauce, infusing it, rather than merely coating it.

This is one of those classic Italian dishes: Pasta al Pomodoro, that you will crave every now and then.  It was recently featured in the Epicurious' Dinner Rush magazine, and best part is:  it doesn't cost a lot in comparison to quality brand name marinara sauces that usually run $9-10 / jar, including taxes.

I got the San Marzano Tomatoes on sale for $3.49 for 28 oz.  The pasta was $2 for 16 oz box, and then you have a few add-ins:  garlic, onion, spices, oil.  Make a double batch of the sauce to freeze.  The base sauce could easily be used for pizza or adding meatballs as well.

Total Cost:  Easily comes in under $10 for 3-4 servings.

5-Qt Sauce pan, for boiling water / pasta
Large skillet, for making sauce
Magic-Bullet-type drink blender (or food processor)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of Red Pepper flakes
3-4 Basil Leaves
1 (28oz) can San Marzano Tomatoes--whole or diced, or pureed if you don't have a blender and juices

1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
2 Tbls butter, cubed
12 oz of spaghetti or linguini or bucatini

1. Wash Your Hands.
2. Heat large 12" skillet with olive oil over MEDIUM-LOW heat.
3. Add onion and cook, stirring until softened.  approx 10-12 minutes.
4. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 2-4 minutes
5. Add red pepper flakes and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

6. Puree and add the tomatoes.  If you don't have a blender, buy the pureed version.

7. Season with salt.

8. Cook the mixture at MEDIUM heat level for 20 minutes or until thickens.

9. Remove from heat and add basil.  Set aside.

10. Cook pasta in salted water according package.

11. Once pasta is almost cooked, remove 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.
12. Add the pasta water to red sauce and bring to a boil.
13. Add the pasta to the sauce and heat for approx 2 minutes.

14. Remove pan from heat, add butter, and cheese.  Toss until cheese melts.

15. Serve on plates with bread and more cheese.

If cooking the pasta in the sauce is just one too many steps for you, simply have it the old traditional way!

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