Monday, December 19, 2011

Creamy Tomato Pasta

Have I told you how much I love pasta?

The answer is a lot. I would say it borders on obsession. I could not live without it.

This recipe from Cooks Illustrated is relatively new to our menu, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. For some reason this recipe has been overlooked again and again as I've made literally every other pasta dish from the Best Ever Recipes magazine.

And although this dish is relatively simple, it is not to be overlooked. I've already made it twice this month, and the hubby and I are obsessed with it. It's bright and flavorful because of the sun dried tomatoes but still has that creaminess that puts a good pasta dish over the top. Sprinkle it with a little sea salt to finish and it is to die for. Seriously.

Creamy Tomato Pasta
adapted from Cooks Illustrated: Best Ever Recipes (2009)
serves 4-6

 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 oz. bacon, cooked and chopped
1 small onion, minced (about 3/4 cup)
1 bay leaf
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. tomato paste
3 Tbs. oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, rinsed, patted dry and chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. white wine
2 cups plus 2 Tbs. crushed tomatoes
1 lb. short tubular pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly Ground Pepper
Sea Salt
Freshly grated Parmesan

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon, onion, bay leaf, red pepper and salt; cook stirring occasionally until onion is very soft and golden, about 8-12 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup white wine and cook, stirring frequently, until evaporated, about 1-2 minutes.

Add 2 cups crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce is thickened (a spoon will leave a trail), about 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile cook pasta until al dente in a large pot of salted water. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Remove the bay leaf from the sauce. Stir in cream, remaining 2 Tbs. wine and remaining 2 Tbs. crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the sauce to the pot of cooked pasta, thinning with cooking water if necessary. Stir in the basil.

Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly grated Parmesan.

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