SUMMER TOMATO PASTA al'ARRABIATA
Arrabiata is a spicy Italian tomato sauce fired up by garlic and crushed red chili pepper.
Besides the fact that it TASTES as GOOD as it looks, it ticks a lot of HEALTH boxes: 1) chili pepper boosts your metabolism 2) garlic supports your immune system, 3) cooked tomatoes are full of LOADS of stuff your body needs (especially men, to ward off prostate cancer) 4) Spinach gives you the goodness of green and 5) I serve it over ricotta-stuffed tortellini with a bit of added buffalo mozzarella and parmesan for protein and calcium.
It’s a fast, simple, one-dish meal that delivers on all fronts!
Oh, and it’s great leftover, so you can easily enjoy a homecooked lunch at school or the office!
PREP TIME: 10 min
COOK TIME: 15 min
4 TBSP (60 ml) olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp crush red chili pepper
2 lb (or 1 kg ) mixed cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters
Salt to taste
3 cups (100 g) fresh spinach, chopped
1 fist-sized ball of buffalo mozzarella, torn into bite-sized chunks
Grated parmesan cheese to garnish
Pasta of choice, cooked according to directions on package (pictured above I used fresh tortellini filled with ricotta and spinach).
1) Heat a large, deep pan over medium heat, add 2 TBSP olive oil, the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute to activate their flavors.
2) Add the tomatoes, remaining 2 TBSP olive oil, crack over a bit of salt, mix well and let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
3) Just before serving, stir in the chopped spinach and cook for 1 minute
4) Further season with salt to taste if needed.
| See COOK'S NOTES at bottom of page to properly time the cooking of your pasta |
Add pasta to individual serving bowls, spoon over the sauce, and garnish with buffalo mozzarella and parmesan cheese as desired...a little fresh basil if you have it on hand!
Recipe and Photo Credit: Cathy Menees
TIMING THE PASTA
Check out the timing guidance on your pasta package to see when the best time to start the cooking is. Some cook faster than others. The sauce can always simmer a bit longer, but you don't want the pasta sitting there getting cold, so make sure the sauce is well on its way before you start the pasta.
NOTE: if using fresh pasta, it cooks in 3-5 minutes, so don’t start the fresh pasta until the sauce has simmered for about 6-8 minutes.
COOKING THE PASTA
Adding 2 TBSP of salt to your cooking water might seem like a lot, but it’s an important trick I learned from an Italian grandma. She said, quote “your pasta water should taste like the ocean” (a clean ocean, of course). This trick is key as it adds taste to your pasta. If you skip this step, you’re likely to add much more salt after the fact, than that which would have come from the salted water.
Go for fresh, really ripe, really red cherry tomatoes. Large tomatoes that are pink-ish on the inside have no flavor, thus, nor will your pasta!
LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS
This recipe makes 4 generous bowls of pasta, so feed 4 people, or prep 4 meals. It's delicious leftover!