Join America’s favorite cook in her home kitchen as she teaches you one of the most simple and delicious Tuscan pasta dishes made with slow-cooked cherry tomatoes, chili peppers and cheese.
COOK’S NOTE: (Rach explains) Place the tomatoes in a deli lid and top with a second deli lid. Use a very sharp knife to halve the tomatoes through the middle, vertically, while holding top lid down with the palm of your hand. Repeat and halve all tomatoes.
If you’re cooking along with us at home, find the ingredient and preparation list below, or listen and enjoy for your next meal inspiration.
- 3-4 Tablespoons EVOO, extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons good quality salted butter
- 1 bulb garlic, about 7-8 cloves, thinly sliced by hand or using a truffle shaver
- 1/2 red finger chili pepper, halved and seeds removed, optional for a spicy sauce
- About 8 cups, 2 quarts, cherry tomatoes, halved
- Salt, such as fine sea salt or Kosher salt
- A few leaves of basil, torn
- 500 gr. pici or 1 pound bucatini or spaghetti
- Pecorino and/or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Finely chopped fresh mint and/or parsley
- Chopped pistachios, Rach prefers Sicilian pistachios
- Large pot to cook pasta
- Colander to strain
- Large skillet with lid
- Mug or ladle
Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. If you are using pici, it will take about 20 minutes to cook at a rolling boil.
Heat a large saucepot or deep skillet over low heat with EVOO, 3 turns of the pan. Melt the butter into the oil, add garlic and stir for about 2 minutes. If using, add the chili pepper half to the garlic and then add tomatoes to the pan. Season with salt, stir and cover the pan to cook, about 25-30 minutes, to collapse tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are broken down, after about 15 minutes, add the torn basil.
Salt the pasta water liberally and cook 1 minute less than package directions. Toward the end of cooking, reserve about 1 cup of starchy cooking water, drain pasta and add to the pot of sauce. [Alternatively, strain pasta and add back to the pot it was cooked in. Pour the pot of sauce over and add some of the starchy cooking water.] Add a couple of handfuls of cheese while tossing pasta with tongs to emulsify. Transfer the pasta to serving bowls and top with additional toppings of choice.
[Serve with green salad dressed with lemon and EVOO. For more of a meal, serve with sliced steak with rosemary.]