An herby “pesto” or “picada” made with sun-dried tomatoes, transforms this sauce into something quite memorable. To enliven the sauce even further, try adding 2 finely chopped anchovies (preferably those preserved in oil) and some very thinly sliced fennel bulb.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
– 2 tbsp good-quality extra virgin olive oil.
– 2 roasted garlic cloves (see note).
– 2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried.
– ½ tsp pimentón picante (Spanish hot smoked paprika).
– 3 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained (reserve the oil).
– 4 large ripe tomatoes, about.
– 1lb (400g), chopped.
– 2 x 14 ½oz (400g) cans goodquality peeled plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped generous pinch of light brown sugar.
– 2 tbsp sherry vinegar.
– 1lb (500g) dried pasta such as spaghetti, fusilli, fregula, orecchiette, or tortiglioni.
– 2½ cups fresh arugula leaves sea salt and freshly ground.
– black pepper.
– freshly grated or shaved.
– Parmesan cheese, to serve.
Step 1:Using a mortar and pestle, pound the olive oil, roasted garlic, parsley, oregano, paprika, and sun-dried tomatoes into a paste that resembles pesto. Alternatively, process briefly in a small blender until a coarse pesto forms. If needed, add a little of the reserved oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.
Step 2:Mix together the fresh and canned tomatoes, sugar, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to mix evenly.
Step 3:Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water, according to the package instructions, until al dente. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water to keep the pasta moist.
Step 4:Meanwhile, transfer the tomato mixture into a hot frying pan over medium heat. Add the pesto ingredients. Stir for a minute or so to just warm through, then remove from the heat. Add to the freshly cooked pasta, tossing to blend. Toss in the arugula. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan.
Note : Roasting garlic is very simple. Just put a couple of fat, unpeeled cloves on a hot griddle or ridged cast-iron grill pan. Char-grill for a few minutes on each side until soft inside. Allow to cool, peel, and use the roasted pulp in the recipe.