Monday, January 15, 2007

Penne With Tomatoes, Parsley and Mint


250 gr. penne
2,5 liters of water
25 gr. salt (1+1/4 tablespoons)
5 medium sized tomatoes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic (smashed)
4 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh mint (chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sugar if necessary
1/4 cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese (grated)


Bring a pot of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add salt(1+1/4 tablespoons). Then add the penne and cook according to package instructions. Usually 8-10 minutes, I cooked for 10 minutes in order to achieve the right texture. Stir for 2 or 3 times in order to avoid the penne sticking together. Drain the pasta and reserve ½ cup of pasta water.

The tomato sauce should be prepared while you are boiling the penne.

Peel the tomatoes. If you want to peel them easily, put the tomatoes into boiling water and count to ten. Then put them quickly into cold water, don’t leave the tomatoes in the cold water more than one minute, quickly peel off their skin with your fingers or with a knife. Chopped the tomatoes and put them into a strainer and press down with a spoon and remove the seeds. Use a food mill to puree the tomatoes.

Heat a medium sized sauteing pan over medium-low heat. Heat the extra virgin olive in the sauteing pan.

When the oil is hot, add the garlic, and saute over medium heat until the garlic becomes slightly golden.

Add the strained tomatoes. Stir occasionally, continue cooking until most of the liquid has been absorbed. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little of the pasta water to thin out the sauce (I usually don't need). Add a pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper, red-pepper flakes to taste. Taste the tomato sauce, if you think that the sauce is a bit acidic, you should add a pinch of sugar.

In the last 30 seconds of cooking, add chopped mint and parsley.

Add the penne to the tomato sauce. Stir to coat all the pasta with the tomato sauce. Remove the skillet from the heat and serve immediately.

Preheat the plates. Just before serving, add some freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese on pasta (not too much).

Have a good appetite!

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