You know that feeling when you hear an old fave song and you get a ripple of happiness? The familiar clang-clang (of a jail cell closing?) and then…
That is exactly how is feel when I see this pot o’ pasta. It’s familiar, I know all the words, and it’s just so dang good. It’s just spicy enough, the tomato sauce is rich and complex (helped along by a small batch of bechamel), and pasta is chewy and delicious. It comes together reallllly quickly and keeps great for lunch. And if you follow this recipe, you’ll end up with something more tomato-y than a traditional bolognese, which is perfect with a short pasta with lots of little nooks and crannies. This has become my go-to weeknight pasta! Cuz you not just my love you my homie…
Flashback! One year ago on Leighto-Greato: Spicy Lamb and Roasted Red Pepper Couscous Risotto and Balsamic Roasted Strawberries with Whipped Cream
- 1 T. vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T. red pepper flakes
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 box Pomi chopped tomatoes
- ½ lb. short pasta
- 1 T. butter
- 1 T. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. milk
- Cheese, for serving
- Bring a large pot full of salted water to a rolling boil, for the pasta.
- While the pasta water is coming to a boil, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in another large pot (this is the pot where the whole dish is going to end up, so make sure you have plenty of room). Sauté the onions for 5 minutes or so, until they are translucent. Add the garlic and pepper and sauté for one minute more, until the garlic is fragrant but now browned.
- Add the pork to the pot, and break up the meat to distribute the onions and garlic and peppers evenly. Then brown the meat -- which means letting it cook without moving it for several minutes at a time, then giving the pot a stir, and letting it sit again.
- Once the pork is all browned, add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer until the pasta is ready.
- Once the pasta water is at a full, rolling boil, add the pasta. Cook until slightly before al dente -- in my experience, this was about 2 minutes shorter than the package instructions. (The pasta is going to keep cooking in the tomato sauce, so you don't want to get it totally done in the water.)
- Drain the pasta, reserving the water, add the pasta to the pork tomato sauce, remove from heat and cover.
- In the pasta pot, melt the butter over medium heat. As soon as the butter is melted, add the flour, whisking until combined. Once combined, add the milk, again, whisking until combined. Don't worry if the sauce breaks, if you keep whisking it will come back together. Allow that sauce to simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Taste the pasta to make sure it's cooked through (if it's not, heat the pan over medium heat until you're happy with it). Stir in the milk sauce and add pasta water if you want to thin the sauce a bit (I usually don't, but you never know). Serve hot, topped with grated cheese.