Friday, November 4, 2011

Penne with Arugula and Tomatoes

When my husband is travelling, my daughter and me eat things that we are fond of and he is not. Last night we had roasted sweet potatoes (the white kind), roasted asparagus - nice and thick spears (he likes the pencil kind), and to go with it, we had a very fresh tasting pasta. I created an aglio e oglio [garlic and oil in Italian] sauce and tossed the pasta in it with fresh arugula and chopped tomatoes. The juice from the tomato created a very light coating on the pasta along with garlic and olive oil from the aglio olio and the arugula gave a nice fresh punch thanks to its mild bitterness.

Penne with arugula and tomatoes
2 cups mezze penne or any other short cut pasta like fusili or farfalle
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely sliced fresh red chili pepper (or 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes)
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups chopped fresh arugula
1 medium sized vine ripened tomato chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
Freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to directions on the box.
  2. In the meantime heat a 10 inch heavy skillet with extra virgin olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic slices and the fresh red chili or chili flakes. Continue to cook over low heat till the garlic is soft. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan and keep over low heat till the pasta is cooked.
  3. When the pasta is cooked, save 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain. Add the drained pasta to the  pan. Raise the heat to medium and stir to coat the pasta completely with the sauce. If the sauce is too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water. Turn off the heat. Then add the chopped arugula and chopped tomatoes and toss together to combine. The heat from the pasta will wilt the arugula.
  4. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.
Serves 2.

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