Cook with confidence / Enjoy your food

On most occasions, I’m not a fan of being rushed while I write. Today is the exception. I have an hour before I have to actually get out of my pajamas, shower and get ready for work but in these ticking minutes,  I absolutely must blog about the plate of food I just cooked.

The cover of the latest issue of Bon Appetit (May 2011) features a plate of pasta that I legitimately have been dreaming about for days. I first stumbled upon the picture when I was browsing their website and 1) Realized they were featuring an Italy Issue (hallelujah numero uno) and 2) Realized I needed to recreate that pasta dish as soon as flipping possible (hallelujah it turned out even better than I thought).

I will be the first to gladly admit how much I actually love pasta. I’ve grown up on all sorts of pasta –  buttered noodles, pesto pasta, spaghetti and meatballs, etc, etc, etc. I love them all. Having an Italian grandmother and mother who are pros in the kitchen never really helped the matter, either. Pasta is an easy feat in the kitchen, but can go from bad to worse in a matter of seconds. A simple tomato sauce may blindly appear easy peazy, but it is only in the 2 or so slow hours of simmering and melding flavors together where the magic truly happens.

I didn’t spend two hours on this pasta sauce, nor did this recipe call for such an endeavour. I’m certainly impatient in the kitchen – lets be real – those two hours of simmering sauces, so not my thing. But my two generations of proud Italian chefs have perfected it well and for that, I will make a toast. I raise my glass to you, Bon Appetit, for creating and sharing such a fantastic dish. Not that you need any more credibility, the magazine and success speak for itself. But being able to pass along such a recipe that yields such an amazing plate of food that even my mother, who only ever wants “one” bite, licked the entire plate clean.

Pasta al Pomodoro – adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2011 issue

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (or more, depending on taste)
  • 1 28 can peeled tomatoes, pureed in a food processor (I used canned cherry tomatoes – totally up to you what you prefer)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 large fresh basil sprigs
  • 12 oz bucatini or spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp cubed unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino
Heat the olive oil in a 12′ skillet over medium low heat. Add minced onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 2-4 minutes. Add crushed red pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute more. Increase heat to medium, add pureed tomatoes and season lightly with kosher salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and the flavors meld, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in basil sprigs, and set aside. 
Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a 5 qt 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. 
Discard basil and heat skillet over high heat. Stir in reserved pasta water to loosen sauce, bring to a 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 cheese, toss until cheese melts. Transfer to warm bowls, serve with more cheese, if desired.Cook with confidence / Enjoy your food – I can proclaim, with confidence, this pasta dish was one of the best, ever. I will also say, I cooked it with confidence and ease and thoroughly enjoyed slurping up every last cheesy tomato soaked noodle. So, props BA, for not only sharing a wonderful, simple pasta sauce but sharing a wonderful catch phrase as well. 

2 thoughts on “Cook with confidence / Enjoy your food

  1. What to do when girlfriend doesn’t like oninos…is there any kind of replacement ingredient? Or some type of onion that’s not so onionee. haha Just throwing that out there.



  2. I love that the sauce is ideal for people like me that never plan ahead far enough for the two-hour simmer. Looks delicious!!!

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