Years ago I found this recipe in InStyle Magazine – I think it was Janet Jackson’s favorite dish at a restaurant, but I don’t have any information on which restaurant. Nevertheless, Ms. Jackson has excellent taste because this pasta is addictive. It’s really delicious served hot but I also like it cold or room temperature. It takes time and attention to make the olive-oil-based sauce, so plan on setting aside about 45 minutes to babysit the saucepan.
Last week I served this pasta along with London broil and a spinach salad made with pomegranate seeds, candied pecans and Parmesan cheese tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette. It was a big hit and paired beautifully with the beef.
Since this recipe makes a lot of pasta, I recommend making it for a party. You’ll glow with pride as your guests rhapsodize about your mad skills with penne.
Penne al Pomodoro e Peperoncino
- 1 1/4 cups olive oil
- 2 cups chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 lbs penne pasta
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)
In medium saucepan heat oil. Add onion, celery carrot, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 15-17 minutes. Add tomatoes and red pepper flakes; reduce heat to medium low, cook for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in large pot bring 6 quarts salted water to boil. Add pasta, stir. Return water to boil. Boil pasta 11-13 minutes, until al dente. Drain well. Return pasta to pot. Add basil leaves to sauce. Spoon sauce into bowl of food processor; process in batches until texture is smooth. [Moxie adds: I use my blender because my food processor is too small and I would rather get the whole thing done in one fell swoop. If you’ve got a big honkin’ food processor, though, by all means use it.]. Pour sauce over pasta; toss well. To serve, place pasta on warmed serving platter. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 6.