Do you love to cook? I love to cook. Seriously. My husband has offered several times to share some of the dinner preparation “burden” with me, and while each time I thank him for his consideration, I think I would cry if he really did attempt to take on this task regularly.
This love of cooking is relatively new. I had about zero interest in cooking while I was growing up, and when one of my college roommates offered to be our evening meal chef, my other roomies and I didn’t hesitate to accept.
Then, several years ago, my dad found himself out of work. Now, now, don’t get all sympathetic toward him. His situation was entirely unlike that faced by millions around the world right now who are affected by this global recession. No, let’s just say his “out of work” period amounted to a very long paid vacation. Very long, very paid.
During this time, my father took a few classes, pursuing a few of his passions. One of these passions was cooking. And one of the dishes my father learned to cook became my very favorite dinner. I now cook it every couple of weeks and would serve it more often in my house if I didn’t worry about being disowned by my family.
One of the best things about this dish is how easy it is to make! It takes a long time to simmer down, but truly, once the cooking itself is underway, I often will stand by the stove, sipping a glass of wine, reading a book or magazine, occasionally stirring the sauce or adding the next ingredient. Just chillin’ and cookin’ and readin’ and relaxin’.
The ease of this dish and the resulting deliciousness of it, as well as the sense of calm and satisfaction I get while cooking, serving and eating it, inspired me to start to cook more and to learn more about cooking. I’m not accomplished by any means, but I embrace this new love, these new skills and the dishes my family and I get to enjoy now.
In the spirit of Pay It Forward, I now share with you Dad’s Pasta:
- 6 tbsp. olive oil
- 10 cloves of garlic, minced
- 12 Roma or Plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise (recommendation: try to be sure they’re on the softer side, for better sauce)
- ½ cup red wine (whatever you’re drinking… cabernet or merlot tend to work well)
- 16 oz. Rigatoni
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 tsp. sugar
- ½ cup fresh, grated parmesan
- Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
- Heat large saucepan at medium high heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Sauté garlic until lightly browned.
- Add tomatoes to saucepan. Salt & pepper to taste. Cook for around 20 minutes, stirring often. As the sauce cooks, the tomato skin will loosen from the tomato quarters – help it release but keep it in the sauce.
- When you have a sauce-like, slightly thickened paste – after around 20 minutes – add wine and stir it in.
- Continue to cook, stirring often, until the sauce has cooked down to a very thick paste (around another 10-15 minutes or so).
- Remove from heat, set aside.
- Cook pasta per box directions. Drain.
- Place saucepan of tomato reduction over low heat. Add butter and sugar. Stir until fully melted and combined into sauce.
- Add parmesan. Stir for a minute or so until combined into sauce, remove from heat.
- Stir pasta and sauce together. Serve immediately.