Monday, May 19, 2008

Farfalle with Tomatoes and Basil

From Melia DeCamp
1/2 lb. of farfalle (bowties)
olive oil
1/2 onion--chopped finely
6 roma tomatoes
1 tsp. of salt
2 tsp. of sugar
black pepper
red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
8-10 chopped basil leaves
Leftover or pre-prepared chicken breast

The amounts I have here are for four adult servings:
Cook 1/2 lb. of farfalle (bowties) according to the package instructions. Make sure you generously salt the water. If the package says "10-12 minutes" cook them for 10. By the time everything's finished, they'll be perfect.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then add: 1/2 onion--chopped finely once the onion is soft and translucent, add 6 roma tomatoes, diced

Cook the onions and tomatoes on medium-high heat until the tomato pieces have turned into sauce. You want to cook out a lot of the water.

Your pasta probably needs to be drained sometime in here, but scoop out a mug full of the pasta water before you drain it. I'll explain later.

Add about 1 tsp. of salt (make sure to taste it because seasoning is personal), 2 tsp. of sugar, some black pepper, and some red pepper flakes if you like a little spice.

Dump the pasta into the sauce and stir in 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, 8-10 chopped basil leaves, and 1 chopped, grilled chicken breast.

Now is when you use the reserved pasta water to control the texture. I'm sure that sometimes you've cooked, or been served pasta that is dry and stuck together and just not perfect. Well, you can avoid that with the addition of a little pasta water. It works best because it's salted so it won't dilute the sauce, it's hot, so it won't make the dish cold, and it has some starch that the pasta abandoned during cooking so it won't make the sauce too thin. Add a little water and stir it in until the pasta is covered in perfectly textured, shiny sauce. Do it again when you come back for a second serving and the pasta looks all dried out. Also, whenever you're reheating pasta, add a little water before putting it into the microwave.

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