Friday Recipe Korner

This is base on a recipe from April’s Gourmet magazine, but it surprisingly doesn’t contain unicorn-tusk or platinum ingot or Polynesian sparrow tears or any other ridiculously unattainable ingredient. Also, it can be prepared without the assistance of the usual legion of servants. I made this for my brother and sister-in-law on Wednesday, and they loved it. So did M. Even baby Isaac was trying to get in on the action!

I hope you’ll try this. It’s exceedingly fast and easy, and I promise you’ll love it.  I served it with grilled italian sausages and grilled red onions.

Rigatoni with Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

To get started with this recipe, get a 28 oz can of peeled tomatoes in tomato puree. I like the Italian brands, and they only cost a few dimes more at my grocery store. You’ll also need two cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of your big knife but NOT CHOPPED, a generous pinch of dried hot red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup of olive oil (I’d go with a fragrant extra virgin olive oil, because this sauce doesn’t have many ingredients, so you want each one to stand out), a little salt and a handful of fresh basil leaves. You’ll also need a pound of rigatoni (duh), and a cup or two of ricotta. Gourmet recommends making your own, and as soon as you’re done laughing at that, you can go to the store and buy some.

So, get a medium saucepan, add the 1/4 cup olive oil, and put it over medium heat until it’s fragrant. Toss in the pepper flakes and the garlic cloves and cook, stirring, until the garlic begins to brown. Adjust the heat as necessary to be sure that the pepper flakes don’t burn. When the garlic starts to brown, scoop it out and toss it, since it has already imparted its scent to the oil. Add the tomatoes, their juice, and a pinch of salt. Use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened (about 20 minutes). Tear the basil into pieces and stir it in, removing the sauce from the heat.

While the sauce is cooking, boil up the rigatoni. When the pasta is done, drain it and toss it with the tomato sauce to coat. Sprinkle with grated Pecorino Romano. (That’s Gourmet speaking. I used Parmesan, and it was great.) Top each serving of pasta with a dollop of ricotta. I know, that sounds a little weird, and I wasn’t sure my family would go for it. As it turned out, everyone loved the slight richness obtained by mixing the ricotta into the sauced pasta, and everyone wanted more cheese. So go figure, give it a try!

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