Paccheri With Fresh & Canned Tomato Sauce

Every Italian family has their favorite tomato sauce recipe, often one that has been passed down through generations. It may be a simple sauce made with fresh garden tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, or a long cooking sauce flavored with a variety of different types of meat. I have to say that my preference is seasonal, and when fresh tomatoes are in season, there is nothing better than a barely cooked sauce that is all about the tomatoes. During cooler months however, I love to prepare a sauce that simmers on the stove for hours flavored with meat and vegetables. I do not think I could even pick a favorite tomato sauce, at least until now. I recently read about a sauce using both canned tomatoes and fresh chopped cherry tomatoes, and since we have an abundance of cherry tomatoes in our garden, I decided to give it a try. When fresh, sun-ripened tomatoes are available, especially from our garden, I rarely touch canned tomatoes, but I was intrigued by the idea of using both together.

I knew this sauce would taste good, but I was surprised just how good it tasted. Such a small change creates great results as the sweetness and vibrancy of the fresh tomatoes brings the sauce to life, while the canned tomatoes add a complexity to the sauce. Since most of us can buy decent cherry tomatoes year round, this is certainly a sauce I’ll be often making. I chose to use paccheri, a thick tube type of pasta shape that works well with chunky sauce although you could use just about any pasta shape with this sauce. For best results, do use good quality canned San Marzano tomatoes, and fresh basil.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2015

Paccheri With Fresh & Canned Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 2 (14 Ounce) Cans Chopped San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 5 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil, Divided
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 15 Ripe Cherry Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 1 Pound Package Paccheri Pasta (Or Pasta of Choice)

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and then add the onions.
  2. Cook until tender, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two until fragrant.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of basil, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook another 15 minutes, stirring often.
  6. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  7. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until it is “al dente”.
  8. Stir the remaining basil into the sauce, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  9. Drain the pasta and return to the pot.
  10. Add a ladle or two of sauce to the pot and toss until the pasta is coated.
  11. Served in individual bowls topped with a spoonful of additional sauce.
  12. Offer grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese at the table if desired.