Friday, May 27, 2011

Pasta al Pomodoro - A Pasta for the Rest of My Life

I was excited to see the new issue of Bon Appétit fall through the mail slot in the front door. Adam Rapoport, formerly with GQ, has taken over the helm as Editor in Chief of the redesigned magazine. His vision is to present a magazine that matters, one that presents the kind of food you'll want to cook for the rest of your life. He believes having good food in your life makes your life better - it makes your family happier and your time with your friends more enjoyable. I couldn't agree more, but cooking good food also relaxes me and provides an escape. That's exactly what I needed this week, an escape.

The first issue of the "new" Bon Appétit is The Italy Issue, packed full of so many tempting pastas, like the Fettuccine with Prosciutto and Orange I made recently, and Spaghetti alle Vongole; irresistible desserts, like Chocolate Tiramisu, Ricotta Cheesecake, Zeppole with Chocolate Sauce, and healthy summer salads, like delicious Raw Artichoke, Celery, and Parmesan Salad, and Shaved Asparagus with Parmesan Vinaigrette. I particularly enjoyed the touching article Blood, Bones & Baked Eggplant, about chef/author Gabrielle Hamilton, and her reunion with her ex-husband's mother for a traditional Sunday lunch in Rome. Not too long ago, Saveur published an article about Gabrielle, featuring Brown Butter Pasta with Pine Nuts and Fried Egg. I enjoy reading stories behind recipes, and that's what the new Bon Appétit promises to deliver.

The recipe I chose for some comfort this week is very simple, as portrayed on the cover, but I've never quite been able to replicate the version I enjoy so much at our local Italian hang. Until now.

Pasta al Pomodoro
Bon Appétit 
Serves 4


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can whole peeled Italian tomatoes, puréed in a food processor
Kosher salt
3 large fresh basil sprigs
12 ounces bucatini or spaghetti
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino
Basil chiffonade and extra grated Parmesan for serving


Heat extra-virgin 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 puréed 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; top with basil chiffonade and serve with more cheese, if desired.

After reading Pasta Perfect, a BA Cooking Manifesto, I now know how to make the simplest, most luxurious sauces imaginable.
  • Forget the pot. Use a pan.
  • Build the Foundation.
  • You're not using nearly enough salt.
  • Don't dump the pasta water.
  • Trust the tongs.
  • Now work that pan.  It's where the magic happens.
  • Everything's better with butter.
  • Cheese is not just a garnish.
  • It should look as good as it tastes.
  • Practice makes perfect pasta.

Thank you, Bon Appétit, I'm looking forward to cooking more of the food I'll want to cook for the rest of my life.


Anonymous said...

This pasta looks amazing. It's definitely a keeper!

Liz said...

Your photos make my mouth water! Great job! :)

Unknown said...

Bon Appetit is one of my favorite magazines. I always find recipes, I want to make and I do get to make some of them. This pasta can be added to my list. It looks spectacular.

Adriana said...

Bookmarked! I have to admit I have never leafed through a Bon Appetit and now I am intrigued. Love the red checkered accents in your picture.

kitchenarian said...

Such lovely pictures. I am sure that issue of Bon Appetit is around the house somewhere, I need to find it.

Anonymous said...

Farewell to bland newsfeeds without even a single photo.

Kim said...

Denise -

I too, DEVOURED my Bon Appetit this month. So many recipes to try. Your presentation of the pasta al pomodoro is stunning.

BTW, have you seen the latest Food and Wine issue? I think there's a Eukanuba ad with a newf in it!!! :-)


Anonymous said...

I just bought this issue today, and immediately had to make this recipe! So delicious!: