If you’re abashedly missing all of the recently departed Christmas colours and décor (but not the overly festooned tacky shit), this beautiful dish will reignite a small portion of joy in your soul. The vibrant red of the tomatoes, the fresh green of the basil, the snowflake-like delicacy of freshly grated Parmesan. Let’s all let out a nostalgic sigh together, shall we? Okay now go back to remembering what a faff of a production Christmas is and be grateful it only comes annually.
Pasta Pomodoro, or “pasta with tomato sauce” as you might think of it if you’re not terribly pretentious, is such a staple recipe. Super simple, super satisfying, yet rife with opportunities for learning common-sense pasta skills. The series of steps for both recipes are intentionally similar, because they are steps that can (and should) be followed when creating any simple combination of pasta + sauce:
· Always cook the pasta al dente (the final dip in boiling sauce will take care of the residual cooking for you!)
· Always keep a cupful of the starchy pasta-cooking water handy for loosening up the sauce and for helping the noodles and sauce mingle together more cohesively
· Finish things off strong with a hit of Parm and/or butter
Boom. Repeat these steps anytime you’re freewheeling a pasta dinner sans recipe and steel yourself for how much better your pasta becomes when you don’t just dump a pot of sauce on top of it and immediately dish up.
Today’s pasta pomodoro recipes are quite similar; to the point where I hesitated in posting them both because I worried that there was too much overlap between them. I managed to console myself that they were different enough to both merit a spot here, mostly on the grounds of texture and noodle variation. BA’s Best yields a sauce that is smoother and slightly glossier (because butter), making it a good match for a long thin noodle. My own version is deeply roasted with a more rustic texture that loans itself well to a shorter, thicker pasta. Both are the kind of dish that can be lauded for being equally satisfying to either a small, finicky child or a slightly more refined adult.