I have been spotlighting Kathleen Flinn's new book The Kitchen Counter Cooking School (to be released by Viking on October 3, 2011) in my Weekend Cooking posts this month. This week, I am spotlighting Kathleen's Pasta Pomodora recipe. It's my kind of recipe, quick and easy and it uses all natural ingredients. This is an easy alternative to opening up that jar of spaghetti sauce from the grocery store. I just went to a nearby farmer's market this morning and bought fresh tomatoes so I plan to make this tomorrow.
Check out this cooking video lesson with Kathleen teaching how to make Pasta Pomodora from her upcoming book The Kitchen Counter Cooking School.
Pomodoro (Fresh Tomato Sauce)
Be sure to have the pasta cooking and all the ingredients ready before starting the sauce; this is ready more quickly than you’d expect. Flavorful fresh tomatoes make all the difference here; cherry tomatoes work especially well and they’re available year-round. Just cut them in half. Carefully scoop out a bit of the pasta water to finish the sauce.
Makes enough for about 4 side portions or 2 main-dish servings
8 ounces dried pasta, such as penne or linguine, or 12 ounces fresh pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
About 12 ounces tomatoes, chopped
Handful of chopped parsley or basil
Pinch or two of hot pepper flakes
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Boil water for the pasta. Add at least 1 tablespoon of salt to the water; it should taste slightly salty. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; reserve about ½ cup of pasta water after cooking.
Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute; be sure not to burn it or you’ll need to start over. Add the tomatoes, and any other vegetables (see below), and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 3 to 5 minutes for tomatoes on their own, longer if you add in other vegetables.
Add the reserved pasta water and cook until the sauce is reduced slightly and the rest of the ingredients begin to break down, about another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cheese, red pepper flakes and fresh herbs (if using) several cranks of fresh black pepper, and salt if needed.
Consider adding the following:
Splash of cream at the end of cooking for a more creamy texture
Handful of additional chopped vegetables, such as zucchini, artichokes, olives, and/or asparagus, to extend the sauce and offer additional flavor
Shrimp or diced cooked chicken with the tomatoes (Shrimp can be added raw, but be sure to cook them thoroughly; they should turn white throughout and curl up tightly.)
©Kathleen Flinn, The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, Viking/Penguin 2011
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