Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tasty, but not too spicy, pasta arrabiata

For Valentine's Day Dinner, I made this pasta dish we've enjoyed for years but that I had not made in quite some time. It's super easy, inexpensive, tastes great, and makes for delicious leftovers. I actually found it on an ad for a Hunts product some years ago, and was surprisingly impressed with the flavor.
This recipe is described as a "wonderfully rich and spicy pasta dish", but since we don't like foods with a lot of heat, I cut way down on the amount of red pepper that it calls for. If you like heat, just add more!

Pasta Arrabiata
adapted from a recipe from Hunts

I N G R E D I E N T S :

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28 ounce) petite diced tomatoes in juice
1 can (28 ounce) tomato puree
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (original recipe calls for 2 tsp., so add to your liking)
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 tsp. salt (I like using kosher salt)
1 pinch of sugar (literally!)
1/2-1tsp of italian seasoning (just to your taste)
1 pound dry, uncooked penne pasta (I use whole wheat penne)
1/2 cup freshly shredded parmiagano reggiano (because I'm cheap, I use regular parmesan)
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil (because it's winter, i'll just sprinkle in a little dried basil to my liking)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

D I R E C T I O N S :

Heat oil in a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook about 3 minutes or until garlic is golden (be careful not to burn it!). Blend in diced tomatoes and tomato puree; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; stir in red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, spices, and salt.

Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain; reserve 1/2 cup cooking water.

Return pasta and reserved water to pan; pour 2 cups of sauce over pasta. Toss until well combined, and then stir in cheese. Serve pasta with additional sauce.

*Substitutions: 1 can (29 ounce) crushed tomatoes may be substituted for puree. If parmiagano reggiano is not available (or you are cheap like me), substitute a good quality freshly shredded parmesan cheese.

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