Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pasta Al Pomodoro ...A la Jamie

Today I bought my first issue of Bon Appetit - the food magazine- and I must say, I LOVE it! Being in Panama at the moment, it has been difficult for me to find English reading material, so when I saw the magazine in the rack hiding among all the Spanish magazines, I knew I had to at least give it a look. It's the Italy Issue. For those of you who don't already know, I love Italian food. More than love really, but I can't think of a word big enough for what I feel about Italian food. Every time a foodie magazine says it's "The Italy Issue" or "Learn to cook like an Italian" I just have to pick it up (so far I have the Italian issues of Jamie Oliver's magazine "Jamie", and "The Food Network Magazine"). So, even though it cost me $7, that's exactly what I did.

The cover boasts that they have the recipe for the simplest, silkiest sauce you'll ever make. And oh boy, they're not kidding. This sauce has butter in it. Not even for a roux; real butter, just for butter's sake. Really, how could you go wrong with that?

The original recipe is fantastic, and really there's no need to tweak it but, of course, I just happened to be out of the main ingredient- whole canned tomatoes. It was too late to run out to the store, but I didn't want to give up. I was determined to make the sauce that looked and sounded so good on the cover.

So I improvised- I used 3 vine tomatoes and one orange bell pepper, along with half a 28oz can of unseasoned tomato sauce. And it turned out delicious. I also had to substitute mozzarella for Parmesan cheese for the garnish because that's what we had, and it worked really, really well. And then I also subbed farfalle for spaghetti, because my boyfriend doesn't like long noodles... and then I added some ground beef. Okay, so it's no longer strictly Pasta Al Pomodoro, but it's a variation... a very delicious variation.

Below I have written the original recipe, and included notes on my substitutions.

From Bon Appetit:
Pasta Al Pomodoro:
-1/4 cup EVOO
-1 very finely minced medium onion
-4 very finely minced cloves of garlic
-a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
-1-28oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes- pureed in a food processor (I used 3 vine tomatoes, 1 orange bell pepper both pureed in a food processor, and then half a 28oz can of unseasoned tomato sauce (tomato puree with water))
-salt, basil, bay leaves
-12oz spaghetti (I used an equal amount of farfalle)
-1/2 cup of pasta water reserved before draining your pasta
-2 tbsp unsalted butter
-Parmesan cheese for serving
I also added:
-2 lbs browned and lightly seasoned (salt, pepper) ground beef

Heat the olive oil in a 12", deep skillet on med-low, and softened your onion. Once translucent and aromatic, add the garlic and cook a couple more minutes until fragrant. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and cook for another minute to allow the peppers to infuse the oil.

Turn up the heat to med and add your tomato puree, and lightly season with salt, bay leaves, and basil (if using fresh basil, leave it out at this step). Cook for about 20 more minutes on medium, stirring occasionally to thicken the sauce and cook through. (If using fresh basil, now's the time to add it, once the 20 mins are up).

Meanwhile, boil water and cook your pasta until two minutes short of al dente. Drain, reserving half a cup of the starchy water.

(If you're using fresh basil, remove any large pieces now, it has done its job). Heat sauce over high heat and add the reserved pasta water, stirring to loosen up the sauce. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for about 2 more minutes, until al dente.

Now here's where the real magic happens... Remove the pan from heat and add the butter. Stir to melt and combine. If you browned some ground beef, now would be the time to stir it in. Scoop onto plates and garnish with a generous amount of cheese. Yum.

Mmm... my boyfriend, as you may already know, is a picky eater but he loved this dish so much not only did he ask for seconds, but he asked to reserve the leftovers for himself for lunch tomorrow. That's really the best compliment I could ever get, and my heart swelled. I'm proud of what I made. 

And don't forget to subscribe!

Comment Questions:
1. Do you read food magazines? If so, which?
2. What's your family's favourite go-to meal?

PS- No, Bon Appetit did not pay me to write this, though I would be flattered if they asked, I just really liked this issue of their magazine and the recipe they had on their cover.


  1. That looks REALLY good!

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