Penne Amatriciana & Mariposa Garlic Crostini

Monday, August 23rd, 2010 | click here to comment

After watching an episode of No Reservations in Rome, Italy the hubby became inspired to make pasta amatriciana.  He is quite a force to be reckoned with when it comes to making sauce from scratch, and while he's not an Italian grandma, he could definitely give one a run for her money!

We already had tons of produce on hand from our vegetable garden, which has grown out of control and produced so many tomatoes that we have bowls upon bowls of them in our house.  Making fresh sauce has been something he's been talking about for ages now, but now that we finally have a huge bounty, he was actually able to do it.

Me?  I took the easy route and opted to make bruschetta from our incredibly sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes, which I served on Mariposa's Garlic Crostini. Delish!  The crostini were crunchy, with just the right amount of garlic flavor.  They really worked well with the tomato-basil topping and we ate nearly the whole bag in one sitting!

For the pasta, we used Sam's Mills Corn Penne, which I love because the texture and taste is very close to regular wheat pasta and holds up to sauce quite well.  The sauce itself is super easy to make, and you don't have to strain tomatoes by hand to do it, although you can if you really want to!  If straining tomatoes by hand when you get home from a long day is not your thing, just buy canned, crushed tomatoes.  The recipe for the sauce and bruschetta are both below.  Try them and let me know what you think!

Amatriciana Pasta Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 oz slab bacon or pancetta finely diced
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 - 14 1/2 oz (or 1 28 oz) can Italian plum tomatoes, crushed (Pomi or any other canned crushed tomatoes will work)
  • 1/2 chili pepper, broken into small pieces, or 1/4 t chili pepper flakes to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pecorino cheese
  • 1 lb pasta, bucatini, penne or spaghetti

Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat.  Saute the onion until transparent - about 5 minutes. Add the chili and pancetta and sauté until onion is golden and the pancetta or bacon nice and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook over medium-high heat stirring occasionally, making sure sauce does not burn, about 15 minutes. Add salt to taste. Don't add too much salt, as pancetta and or bacon are already salty . You will also be adding the cheese, which is a little salty, too.  Start water boiling in a large pot for pasta. Cook the pasta and when done to taste, drain and pour into a warm serving bowl or directly into pan with the sauce, mix well adding grated cheese to taste and serve. Spaghetti can be substituted for the bucatini and in a crunch, pennette.

"Bruschetta" with Tomato and Basil

  • 6 or 7 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)  (I used cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Mariposa Garlic Crostini (or other gluten free bread)
Chop tomatoes, and combine with garlic, olive oil, vinegar and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Top the crostini with tomato mixture and voila!


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