Pasta is one of the best things to have come out of Italy, and for that i'll forever be grateful. Pasta dishes are really simple and fuss-proof, just make a delicious sauce and throw in your al dente pasta and serve with grated cheese.
Pasta is usually served for dinner in my house, but I can eat it all day, any day. For my pasta sauce, i added half a cup of vodka because why not???? And also because i did some reading and discovered that alcohol like vodka enhances the aroma and heightens flavor of sauces. This sauce definitely had a bright, fresh flavor so i'm a convert. Feel free to leave the vodka out, you'll still have a delicious pasta dish. This recipe can be adapted for all kinds of pasta, i chose to use Rotini.
Lets get started...
250g Rotini Pasta
1/4 Cup Basil
4 Plump Tomatoes
2 Red Bell Peppers
2 Tablespoons Tomato Puree
1 Cup Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Cup Parmigiano-Regiano Cheese
1/2 Cup Plain Vodka
Dried Rosemary and Thyme
1 Tablespoon Dried Chili
1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
Salt & Pepper
Add pasta to a pot, salt the water and add a tablespoon of oil. The oil is really optional, if you cook your pasta with enough water, it won't stick together. You need enough water to cover the pasta, use too much water and your pot will bubble over and leave you with a mess to clean up.
Cook until al dente, (al dente pasta is about 85 - 90% cooked; it is cooked but still has a bite to it).
Drain and set aside. Always save about a cup of pasta water, this will come in handy if you need to loosen up your sauce a bit, also the starch in the water will help bind the sauce to the pasta.
Blend together half of your basil, tomatoes, red bell peppers (washed and de-seeded), tomato puree, 3/4 of your onion, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, half of your cheese and vodka.
Chop and soften the remaining onions in a skillet with remaining oil on medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Pour in tomato blend, add salt, dried rosemary and thyme stems, 2 remain cloves of garlic (crushed), dried chili flakes and dried parsley. Mix and allow to cook for 15 minutes or until the raw tomato taste has cooked off.
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan and sear pre-seasoned chicken breasts for about 3 minutes on each side depending in the thickness of your breasts.
My breasts were seasoned with salt, pepper, a pinch of herbs de provence, garlic and dried onions.
When pasta sauce is cooked, add your drained pasta...
Mix and add a few tablespoons of pasta water, as needed.
Finish with remaining basil.
Serve with a generous dusting of cheese, grab a glass of vino and enjoy.