As my friend Terrie vividly described the simple, yet brilliant homemade pasta dish she made at her Roman cooking class a couple of weeks ago, I could see myself making it alongside her.
It started with the simple, yet familiar a la minute canned tomato-olive oil-garlic sauce, but there was the twist. The chef flash-seared cherry tomatoes, and made it a double! The sauce was both smooth yet textured, pantry yet fresh.
Three Many Cooks and our spouses were all together at our Pennsylvania home this past weekend, and it seemed like the right time to debut Pappardelle with Double Tomato Sauce. As part of the recreation I was lucky enough to find a container of mixed colored tomatoes and a fresh basil plant for the sauce, I and brought my KitchenAid pasta attachments so we could roll and cut fresh the pappardelle.
But as I pulled the attachments, I realized I had only brought the cutters. If we were going to enjoy fresh pasta, we’d have to hand roll it. I pulled out my rolling pin, and we all took turns for the muscle work out, as we rolled the dough into gauzy cream sheets.
Maggy had picked up a bunch of cheese for the weekend, including both fresh and smoked mozzarella, and it was Sharon who suggested we toss in a little of the smoked variety—great idea!
As we sat down to enjoy it, the crowd went silent. “Grub hush,” Maggy calls it. As we took in the tender chew of the homemade parapedelle and the simple, stunning sauce, I like to think the silence was reverential.
The six of us went on a balloon ride this past weekend too, and I’ll always associate Memorial Day Weekend 2014 with that exciting event, but I’ll remember this pasta dish too.
Pappardelle with Double Tomato Sauce
Serves 4 to 6
1 recipe fresh pappardelle (or 1 pound dried)
4 garlic cloves, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, multicolored if possible, halved
1/4 cup tightly packed chopped fresh basil leaves
6 ounces smoked (or fresh) mozzarella, cut into small cubes
If making fresh parpadelle, do it now. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Meanwhile, heat 3 garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven. When garlic starts to sizzle and turn golden, add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until flavors blend and sauce is Marinara consistency, about 10 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss tomatoes with remaining oil and sprinkle with salt. Place tomatoes, cut side down in hot skillet and cook without turning until browned on cut side, just a couple of minutes. Remove from heat, add remaining garlic clove and half the basil and shake pan to evenly distribute it.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook, until al dente, just a couple of minutes for fresh. Drain and return to pot. Add tomato sauce; toss to coat. Add the mozzarella and half the tomatoes; gently toss to coat. Divide among plates; top with remaining tomatoes, sprinkle with remaining basil and finely grated Parmesan to taste