Mama Mia!

"Bubble, bubble, pasta pot,
Boil me up some pasta, nice and hot,
I'm hungry and it's time to sup,
Boil enough pasta to fill me up."

From one of my all-time favorite childhood books, Strega Nona (Grandma Witch) by Tomie de Paola. As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been mentally going over all of my favorite childhood stories that I want to read to our little one, and I remember I would beg my mom to read Strega Nona over and over again. When Will and I moved to Boston, we packed up a bunch of my old baby books to take with me. When I found the scribbled-on cover with Tomie de Paola peeking out of the moving box, I was overjoyed!
Finding one of my favorite books inspired me to try a new pasta dish for Sunday dinner last weekend. I've ordered penne arrabiata a few times at restaurants in Italy, but I never actually attempted to make it myself. I'm not really sure why, since I always enjoy the spicy flavor. I decided to lighten the recipe up a little bit by using whole wheat pasta (trust me, this was a major sacrifice!), but the flavor really came through with the crushed red pepper, and I felt that I could indulge guilt-free. I will definitely make this dish again in the future!
Source: Southern Living Cooking School, October 2004

  • 4  teaspoons  minced garlic (about 5 cloves)
  • 1/4  cup  olive oil
  • 1  (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  (29-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 2  teaspoons  crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  teaspoon  lemon juice
  • 1  (16-ounce) box penne pasta
  • 1/2  cup  freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese blend*
  • 1/4  cup  thinly sliced fresh basil
  • Garnishes: Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings, fresh basil sprigs

1. Sauté garlic in hot oil in a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat 1 minute.
2. Add tomatoes and tomato puree. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Stir in red pepper flakes and next 4 ingredients; cook, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.
3. Prepare pasta in a large Dutch oven according to package directions.

4. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta and reserved cooking liquid to Dutch oven, and sprinkle with shredded cheese. (I just found it easier to put the drained pasta in a new pasta bowl).

4. Stir basil into tomato sauce, and pour 3 cups sauce over pasta. Toss to coat. Serve with remaining sauce. Garnish, if desired.


Popular Posts