SERVES 6 TO 8
Rigatoni teams with this easy sauce I call salsa caprese because it uses the very ingredients that make up the more popular insalata caprese, a salad of fresh creamy mozzarella cheese, pungent and peppery basil leaves, and fresh plum tomatoes popular on the isle of Capri. In a pinch, canned plum tomatoes can be used.
3 tablespoons Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-size onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 cups diced plum tomatoes
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
Grinding of fresh black pepper
1/3 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
1 pound rigatoni
One 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
1 cup finely chopped well-drained cooked spinach
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 4-quart saucepan. Cook the onion, stirring, until it becomes soft, then add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is soft but still white. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, wine, and sugar. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook the sauce for 20 minutes. The sauce should still be loose, but not thin. Stir in the basil leaves. Set the sauce aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook the rigatoni according to the instructions on page 29. When al dente, drain the rigatoni, reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking water. Return the rigatoni to the pot and, over low heat, stir in the reserved water, 1 cup of the tomato sauce, the cheese, and spinach. Stir until the cheese melts.
Transfer the mixture to a shallow platter. Serve at once, passing additional sauce on the side. Save the remaining tomato sauce for other uses such as on pizza or in stews. Or freeze it for future use.
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