Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce

This recipe was adapted from Cook's Illustrated. I was unable to use a couple of the ingredients this recipe called for. G was against adding prosciutto to start, but I thought that it wouldn't be a major loss to the recipe so I went ahead. But then the fresh basil I bought only two days ago was already starting to mold! I went ahead anyway and the resulting dish was actually quite good regardless. If you make it with prosciutto and fresh basil, let me know how it turned out.

3 tbsp unsalted butter (I only used 1.5 tbsp)
1 oz prosciutto, minced (about 2 tablespoons) (I omitted this)
1 small onion , diced fine (about 3/4 cup) (I used one medium onion which resulted in a little more than a cup, this was fine)
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Table salt
3 medium/large garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 oz oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped coarse (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp dry white wine
2 cups plus 2 tbsp crushed tomatoes or crushed tomatoes with basil (from one 28-ounce can)
1 pound penne or other shaped pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (substituted about a tsp of dried basil)
Parmesan cheese, for serving

  1. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add prosciutto (if using), onion, bay leaf, pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally 8-12 minutes, until onion is soft and beginning to turn light brown.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high, add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add 1/4 cup wine and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add 2 cups crushed tomatoes and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened (spoon should leave trail when dragged through sauce), 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until al dente.
  8. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, drain pasta, and transfer back to cooking pot.
  9. Remove bay leaf from sauce and discard.
  10. Stir cream, remaining 2 tablespoons crushed tomatoes, and remaining 2 tablespoons wine into sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Add sauce to cooked pasta, adjust consistency with reserved pasta cooking water, if necessary.
  12. Stir in basil (if using) and serve immediately.
  13. Sprinkle Parmesan on top of pasta.

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