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Pasta Pomodoro

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Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
3 tablespoons Kosher Salt
28 oz. Whole Peeled Tomatoes
4 cloves Garlic
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Red Pepper Flakes
3 sprigs Basil
1 lb. Spaghetti
4.5 oz. Parmesan Cheese Grated
2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter

Pasta Pomodoro

Cuisine:
  • 25 mins
  • Serves 2
  • Medium

Ingredients

Directions

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Steps

1
Done

Fill a large stockpot two-thirds full with water and heat over high to bring to a boil. Once you see the water start to steam, add 3 tablespoons salt. We know, we know: That looks like a LOT of salt. But salting the pasta water aggressively it should almost be seawater-salty is the key to making sure that every noodle is properly seasoned through and through, and is one reason why restaurant pasta tastes better than the stuff you usually make. While you wait for the water, start your sauce.

2
Done

Open a 28-oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes and drain contents in a colander set over a medium bowl. Using clean fingers, poke a hole in the tomatoes and shake to drain liquid and seeds from the insides of each tomato, reserving liquid. Shake colander over a bowl to separate the solids from all the juices and encourage liquid to drain; set aside.

3
Done

Smash 4 garlic cloves with the flat side of a chef’s knife forcefully, so garlic breaks up into smaller bits; remove skins. If the cloves are really big, you might need to give them an extra smack to make sure they're broken up, but don't bother chopping the garlic will infuse into the oil you sizzle it in and break down as the sauce simmers.

4
Done

Working next to your pasta pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium. Add garlic and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until garlic is golden all over, about 3 minutes.

5
Done

Stir in a pinch of red pepper flakes, then add drained tomatoes and increase heat to medium-high. The idea here is to concentrate the flavor of those tomato solids before adding the liquid they came in, which will give your sauce a more complex, rounded flavor. Cook, stirring occasionally until tomatoes are darkened in color, browned and caramelized in spots, and starting to break down 6-8 minutes. Don't rush this part! If you aren't getting color, let it go for another few minutes. Mash with the back of the wooden spoon to form a coarse paste.

6
Done

Add reserved tomato liquid to the pot and stir to combine. Season with a pinch of salt, throw in 3 basil sprigs, and reduce heat so the sauce is bubbling at a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until liquid is reduced and sauce is thick like applesauce, 8–10 minutes. If your water isn’t boiling yet, turn off the heat under sauce while you wait. If it is, reduce heat to the lowest setting and move on.

7
Done

Add 1 lb. pasta to pot of water and agitate with tongs to prevent sticking. Cook pasta, tossing occasionally, just until the lower end of time range given on the package for al dente. If you're not sure if it's done, fish out a piece and take a nibble - it should still be slightly too crunchy to want to eat because it's going to continue cooking in the tomato sauce. Just before pasta is done, use a heatproof measuring cup to scoop out about 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

8
Done

Using tongs, transfer pasta from the stock pot into the Dutch oven with sauce, allowing water to piggyback on pasta into the sauce. Crank heat under sauce up to medium-high and pour in 0.5 cups reserved pasta cooking liquid. If you've never finished cooking pasta in a pan full of sauce, your life is about to be changed this process is what ensures that every single noodle is completely coated and infused with saucy goodness, and is pretty much the main difference between a dish of "meh" pasta and one that blows your mind.

9
Done

Cook pasta, tossing constantly until sauce is clinging to each noodle and any standing liquid is mostly absorbed about 1 minute. You still want a saucy consistency, but not watery. If things ever start to look a little dry, just add another splash of that pasta cooking water; if they look too wet, just wait a bit for some more liquid to evaporate.

10
Done

Slowly sprinkle in half of the Parmesan cheese, tossing constantly, until it has melted into the sauce. Add more pasta water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, to loosen the sauce if necessary it should be plenty saucy while you're incorporating the cheese so it emulsifies into the sauce properly. You want the sauce to ooze but still be thick enough to coat the pasta.

11
Done

Remove pot from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons butter until melted. Finishing with a bit of butter is almost always a good idea it makes the finished dish extra glossy and delicious.

12
Done

Using tongs, divide pasta among bowls, then top with remaining cheese and basil leaves. Top with red pepper flakes and an extra drizzle of oil, if you feel.

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