Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Penne Pomodori con Basilico

This delicious sauce can be prepped and cooked in the time it takes to boil the pasta. Plus it is cheap. When I cooked this up for the Mister, he said that it tasted just like the simple tomato sauces he gets in Italy. I true compliment from a man not prone to such niceties.

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
2 birds eye chilli peppers—optional for those who like spice—sliced thin, no seeds
1 pound deep red cherry tomatoes
1 large fresh bunch basil
1 pound penne dry pasta
Plenty of salt

1) Slices all of the tomatoes in half, or quarters, slice the garlic and roughly chop the basil. Have it all ready to go. Place a huge pot of well-salted water to boil, cover it to bring to the boil faster.

2) Once the water is boiling, add in the pasta, stir, return to a boil and cook according to package directions. While the pasta is boiling, heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat, pour in the olive oil and when it quivers, add in the garlic and chilli peppers if using, stir well, do not allow to brown—just get fragrant—then add in the chopped tomatoes and basil. Squish the tomatoes with the back of a big spoon as the sauce cooks. Turn the heat down to medium or medium-low, the sauce should be gently simmering not boiling. Remove from the heat if it gets too dry.

3) About 2 minutes before the pasta is cooked, scoop out 2/3 of a mug full of the pasta cooking water. Pour the water into the sauce and incorporate then season well with salt (do not fear the salt!). When the pasta is done, drain it well. Toss the pasta into the sauce and stir well.

Pass the Parmesan cheese. Serve at once. Serves 6-8.

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