Monday, April 25, 2011

Bucatini al Pomodoro

Oh. My. God. It’s time for my monthly Bon Appétit post, and this one is not to be missed. May’s publication is the Italy Issue, stuffed with irresistible recipes and luscious pictures. It has a distinctly vintage feel, celebrating the stylish Rome of La Dolce Vita and Vespas. And gracing the cover is the “simplest, silkiest sauce you’ll ever make;” a perfect bird’s nest of bucatini al pomodoro that instantly called out to me.

The entire magazine made me homesick for my year in Italy; for long evenings of conversation over bowls of pasta and vino della casa, for late night slices at Pizza Pazza after an evening of dancing in Testaccio, for slowly sipped espresso in Piazza Navona. This pasta immediately brought me back to that time. So, for a taste of my Italian experience, simmer a pot of this simple tomato sauce, and eat it late at night, preferably outdoors, with a glass of red wine.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
28 oz. can peeled tomatoes
3 large fresh basil sprigs
16 oz. bucatini or perciatelli
2 tablespoons non dairy butter
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 4 minutes. Add the crushed pepper and cook for one minute more.

Purée the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor, then add them to the sauté pan. Season with salt. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the basil, remove from heat and let sit until the pasta is ready.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions. Drain the pasta reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.

Discard the basil (I ate it as a pre-dinner snack) and heat the sauce over medium high heat. Add the pasta water and the noodles, stirring to coat all the noodles. Add the butter and stir until melted. Taste for salt and pepper. Top with fresh basil and toasted breadcrumbs. Enjoy while piping hot!


  1. hi...I'm an Australian...and I am unsure about the crushed red pepper flakes? I know Americans call capsicums 'peppers', and also maybe you mean chili flakes?

  2. Chili flakes are exactly what I mean. Thanks for clarifying the recipe for international readers!