Quick Pasta al Pomodoro (in red sauce)

Quick Pasta al Pomodoro (in red sauce)

What comes to mind when you hear “quick sauce?” A thick, saucy and silky sauce that coats every pasta noodle? No? Well, it should. Because that’s exactly what this recipe is!

It takes you minutes to make this sauce, roughly around the same time as it takes for the pasta water to boil. Yet, it ends up having such a depth of flavour to it!

I love Pasta al Pomodoro. My preference of pasta would be Spaghetti, but when serving to kids, I often go for something less messy. I usually make this dish when I ran out of groceries and right before it’s time to go shopping, since this dish can be made with simple, pantry ingredients.

One of the biggest secrets of Italian cooking is using the pasta boiling water. That starchy water, not only loosens the sauce, it helps it better adhere to the noodles. It’s so very important that your pasta is properly sauced and the sauce properly adheres to it. And that’s exactly what the step by step recipe below is going to accomplish.

So, let’s get cooking!

Yields4 Servings

 3 tbsp olive oil
 4 garlic cloves, crushed
 pinch of red pepper flakes
 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
 1 can (28 oz) of whole tomatoes
 pinch of sugar
 kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 2 tbsp cold butter, unsalted
 ¼ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
 2-4 basil sprigs, plus basil leaves for garnish (*see note)
 grape tomatoes, for garnish
 10 oz spaghetti (or any other pasta of choice, such as rigatoni)

1

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (for boiling pasta).

Puree your tomatoes in a blender or a food processor until smooth. You can use crushed tomatoes, if desired, but whole tomatoes tend to be a better quality that's why I recommend using them instead.

2

In a large skillet (larger surface will speed up the evaporation/reduce time required to cook), combine garlic, pinch of red pepper flakes, oregano, pinch of salt and oil and cook over medium-low heat until the garlic begins to sizzle and turn fragrant, but do not let it brown, 2-3 minutes. At that point add your tomatoes and a pinch of sugar. Cook, maintaining a gentle simmer, for about 20 minutes for the flavours to meld and for the sauce to thicken.

While the sauce is simmering, boil the pasta to al dente, or ideally 30 seconds under, as per the package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta boiling water.

3

Once the sauce has thickened, remove it from heat, stir in cold butter and Parmesan, and stir vigorously to emulsify it and melt the cheese. Add the basil sprigs and allow the sauce to sit and infuse. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

When your pasta is cooked, remove the basil sprigs from the sauce. Set your skillet with the sauce over high heat and add some pasta boiling water (only about 3 TBSP, you can always add more later), to loosen the sauce. Add your pasta and stir. Finish cooking it in the sauce, stirring, until each pasta noodle is coated with the sauce and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add more pasta water as necessary to make the sauce smooth, silky and saucy.

4

Divide between 4 plates, garnish with some more Parmesan, basil leaves, freshly ground black pepper and tomatoes, if using.

Note:
5

As I discuss in the blog post, this is such an excellent and easy pantry dish. So if don't have fresh basil, just add 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil leaves instead.

Ingredients

 3 tbsp olive oil
 4 garlic cloves, crushed
 pinch of red pepper flakes
 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
 1 can (28 oz) of whole tomatoes
 pinch of sugar
 kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 2 tbsp cold butter, unsalted
 ¼ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
 2-4 basil sprigs, plus basil leaves for garnish (*see note)
 grape tomatoes, for garnish
 10 oz spaghetti (or any other pasta of choice, such as rigatoni)

Directions

1

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (for boiling pasta).

Puree your tomatoes in a blender or a food processor until smooth. You can use crushed tomatoes, if desired, but whole tomatoes tend to be a better quality that's why I recommend using them instead.

2

In a large skillet (larger surface will speed up the evaporation/reduce time required to cook), combine garlic, pinch of red pepper flakes, oregano, pinch of salt and oil and cook over medium-low heat until the garlic begins to sizzle and turn fragrant, but do not let it brown, 2-3 minutes. At that point add your tomatoes and a pinch of sugar. Cook, maintaining a gentle simmer, for about 20 minutes for the flavours to meld and for the sauce to thicken.

While the sauce is simmering, boil the pasta to al dente, or ideally 30 seconds under, as per the package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta boiling water.

3

Once the sauce has thickened, remove it from heat, stir in cold butter and Parmesan, and stir vigorously to emulsify it and melt the cheese. Add the basil sprigs and allow the sauce to sit and infuse. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

When your pasta is cooked, remove the basil sprigs from the sauce. Set your skillet with the sauce over high heat and add some pasta boiling water (only about 3 TBSP, you can always add more later), to loosen the sauce. Add your pasta and stir. Finish cooking it in the sauce, stirring, until each pasta noodle is coated with the sauce and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add more pasta water as necessary to make the sauce smooth, silky and saucy.

4

Divide between 4 plates, garnish with some more Parmesan, basil leaves, freshly ground black pepper and tomatoes, if using.

Note:
5

As I discuss in the blog post, this is such an excellent and easy pantry dish. So if don't have fresh basil, just add 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil leaves instead.

Pomodoro
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