Pasta a la Norma-Runners World Oct 2010


Runners World magazine has turned out to be a great source for great recipes. These are courtesy of  Italian restaurant legend Joe Bastianich, who is also a marathoner.

The Pomodoro Sauce is so easy and so good I plan on keeping it on hand for last minute meals. I think the trick is to use San Marzano's which taste better than regular canned tomatoes. But regular will work too. Jim went back for seconds, which rarely happens even when he really likes something. He likes his meat but was left satisfied with his vegan dinner(he skipped the cheese).

I made the sauce a few days ahead of time. I didn't use rigatoni. I used whole grain fusilli. And my oregano is Turkish not Sicilian.

Pomodoro Sauce
Pomodoro (or tomato) sauce is the base for all of Chef Joe Bastianich's pasta dishes featured in these pages. Use a full batch of pomodoro for each recipe.

1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 16-ounce cans of peeled, whole Italian plum tomatoes, such as San Marzano
1 teaspoon Sicilian oregano (optional)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste) Today's food marathon begins with what
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium. Add garlic and saute until golden brown, about three minutes. While garlic browns, pour tomatoes into a bowl. Squeeze with your hands to break them up. Add tomatoes and their juice to the saucepan. Add oregano (if using), salt, and pepper. Simmer on low for 45 minutes. Add a little water if needed to keep sauce from becoming too thick (it should be bright red; if it turns brick red, it's too thick). To make oreganata, simmer sauce with sprigs of fresh oregano. Make arrabiata by adding red pepper flakes to taste. Makes six one-cup servings.

FAT: 9 G

Rigatoni a la Norma
"The very best eggplant is like filet mignon," says Bastianich. Here it's lightly fried "and incredibly tender and flavorful."

Pomodoro sauce
1 medium eggplant, peeled, then cut into one-inch cubes Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons flour
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 pound rigatoni
6 tablespoons ricotta cheese

Boil a pot of salted water. Heat pomodoro in a saucepan. Sprinkle eggplant with salt. Place on paper towels to drain for 10 minutes, then dust with flour. In a saute pan on medium, saute one garlic clove in 1 1/2 tablespoons oil until golden. Add half the eggplant; saute until brown on the outside but tender inside. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Repeat with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and remaining garlic and eggplant. In the same pan, saute onion in last tablespoon of oil until tender (seven minutes). Add to pomodoro sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add pasta to boiling water. Two minutes before pasta is cooked, remove from water and add with the eggplant to the pomodoro sauce (with some pasta water if needed to keep the sauce liquid). Cook until pasta is tender. Divide into six servings. Top each with a tablespoon of ricotta.

FAT: 21 G