It’s so easy, but has such a pretty and seemingly fancy name, which I admit, I enjoy. Easy and fancy? Yep, I’ll take it. Whatever you want to call it, it’s very flavorful and very simple. It’s perfect for us today on this overcast, gray, cold, Tuesday afternoon. Trey is home from school today and we’re sniffling on the couch together, Max included. So we needed something easy that we could taste, regardless of stuffy noses. This was the dish for such an occasion. I added some extra red pepper flakes to mine too, just to really kick up the heat level. Vampires be warned. Garlic lovers rejoice. Vegetarians and pasta lovers celebrate. It’s Pasta al Pomodoro and it is fantastic.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 28 ounce can peeled tomatoes, puréed in a food processor
- Kosher salt
- 3 large fresh basil sprigs
- 12 ounces bucatini or spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons cubed unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino
Place twelve inch skillet over low-medium heat. Add oil. When oil is heated, add minced onion. Stir until onions are soft, about 12 minutes, then add garlic. Allow onions and garlic to cook for three minutes, while stirring. Add crushed red pepper flakes and cook for one minute more. Increase heat to medium and add puréed tomatoes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and stir occasionally while sauce cooks and the flavors come together. When sauce thickens slightly, remove pan from heat and stir in basil sprigs. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a 5-quart pot. Season with salt; add spaghetti or bucatini and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
Remove and discard basil from sauce. Place skillet over high heat. Stir in reserved pasta water to loosen sauce. Bring sauce to a boil. Add pasta and toss with sauce until sauce coats pasta. When pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes, remove pan from heat. Add butter and cheese. Toss until cheese melts. Transfer to warm bowls and serve with more cheese, if desired.