Weekly Winner: Pure Pasta Perfection


I’ve found it. The quintessential marriage of pasta and sauce. The pure, simple, perfect combination of tomatoes and pasta without one single unnecessary addition or adornment.

First, a little background: My husband is a runner. Every Saturday morning he has a group training run and this Saturday’s was a 20 miler. Because he runs every Saturday, every Friday night is pasta night here. Being the good, supportive wife that I am, I happily partake in what I refer to as “sympathy carbo-loading”. So, in preparation of a 20-mile run, I asked what kind of pasta he wanted. His response was “something simple with a tomato sauce”. You asked for it…You got it!

I have had this recipe for ages, yet for some unknown reason had never made it until Friday. But rest assured, it will move into heavy rotation in this house. The recipe comes from Bon Appetit and it is, quite simply, pure, pasta perfection.

Pasta Al Pomodoro
serves 4

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-oz can peeled, whole tomatoes, puréed in a food processor
3 large fresh basil sprigs
12 oz. bucatini or spaghetti
2 Tbsp cubed, unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 4 minutes. Add crushed red pepper flakes and cook for one more minute.

Increase heat to medium, add tomatoes and season lightly with kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens slightly, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in basil and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-quart pot. Season generously with salt. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain pasta reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.

Discard basil and heat skillet over high heat. Stir in reserved pasta water to loosen sauce; bring to boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add butter and Parmesan cheese.

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