Italy - Pasta al Pomodoro
Who here LOVES pasta? Carbs? Man, I made this dish using homemade pasta, and it was by far one of the BEST pasta dishes I’ve ever had. We have one of those pasta rollers that I, unfortunately, don’t utilize often enough. And I should, because in this house, if you make it, the carbs don’t count. Handmade pasta isn’t even that difficult or time-consuming and yields way better results than any pre-packaged pasta you might buy at the grocery store.
I had a vast variety of potential Italian dishes, but I really wanted to focus on the basics. Focusing on flavors, and because tomatoes are a very popular ingredient in Italy for quite a few Italian dishes, I really wanted the tomato to be the star. What’s ironic about that is some dishes try to rely on the tomato as the star, but need a good amount of spices to really elevate it to a new level.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
Red pepper flakes
28 oz can diced tomato (pureed)
3 large sprigs basil (chopped)
12 oz bucatini or spaghetti
2 tbsp unsalted butter (chopped)
1/2 cup parmesan or pecorino
Garlic bread (optional)
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When ready to go, add the onion and stir occasionally. We want it to be soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, cook and stir for about 1-2 minutes. The aroma of the garlic will blend beautifully with the onion. Add the red pepper flakes and stir briefly.
Lower the heat to medium and add the pureed tomatoes. Season with salt and continue to stir on and off until the sauce thickens slightly about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. It’s up to you if you want to chop your basil beforehand or put them in whole. If you put them in whole, you’ll be removing it later.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water. Make sure to salt your water too! You want to cook until the pasta is al dente, which is typically about 2 minutes before the pasta is done. Plus, the pasta will continue to cook after you take it out. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
As soon as the pasta is ready, discard the basil from the tomato sauce (if you dropped it in whole). Turn the heat for the tomato sauce to high heat and stir in the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce a little bit. Bring to a boil. Mix in the pasta so that it’s well coated. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the butter and parmesan to the sauce and toss until they are melted and blended in. Serve on a plate, grate some more parmesan on top, garnish with a basil leaf and enjoy!
Feel free to also serve with garlic bread! The SO made garlic bread out of some local bakery bread and it was absolutely delicious. Highly recommend for all your carb needs.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.