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Pasta con Pomarola

Classic tomato sauce and pasta from our 2017 Italian Home Cooking Class. Parker promises that "after a couple of times and a little organization, you will be able to produce this dish start to finish in 20 minutes to one half hour." A helpful tool-- a food mill for turning your tomatoes and garlic into a finished sauce with a little personality.

 3 tbsp olive oil
 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
 1 lb. fresh (5-6) or canned tomatoes, peeled (Romas best, but any variety will work.)
 1 tbsp salt
 pinch (4-5) hot pepper flakes
 additional salt and pepper
 10 large basil leaves
 2-3 tbsp butter (optional)
 1 lb. dried or fresh pasta
 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
 Optional variations: pancetta or guanciale

Put the oil and garlic in a large, non-stick sauce pan.  Warm the garlic for 3-4 minutes over medium-low heat. It is very important that the garlic does not burn or color.  Add the tomatoes and begin crushing them with a fork. When there is enough moisture in the pan to prevent the garlic from burning, raise the heat to medium-high. Continue crushing and breaking up the tomatoes.  


Bring the pasta water (about 4 quarts) to a boil in another pot. Once it's at a rolling boil, add 1 tbsp salt. Once it's boiling again, cook your pasta.  


Add the pepper flakes to the tomato sauce. Raise the heat until the sauce is bubbling. Turn off the heat, and pass the sauce through a food mill (if you don't have one, a blender will do.) Return the sauce to the sauce pan, heat off. 


Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as you prefer. When the pasta is cooked reserve a 1/4 cup or so of the cooking water and return the sauce to the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and a small splash of the pasta cooking water, and optional to finish with a pat of butter. Toss well in the sauce. Chop your basil, and toss it in too at the very end. Serve with grated cheese.

Variation with Pancetta or Guanciale: 

Use a small piece (about the size of a slice of bacon) of pancetta or guanciale. Remove the rind or skin, and chop into 1/2 inch long pieces. Peel and crush the garlic cloves instead of mincing.


“Melt” the pancetta or guanciale over low heat, and add crushed garlic. Make sure the garlic does not color or burn. Remove the garlic from the pan after about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium but do not let the meat become crisp.  


Add the tomatoes and follow the original recipe, or remove the meat from the pan before adding the tomatoes. If you remove it, return the meat to the sauce after the sauce has been passed through the food mill.