Cooking with JH: Rigatoni in Fresh Tomato Sauce

A simple and comforting recipe that will transport you straight to Italy.

During this time at home, Johannes has really been perfecting his culinary skills from pesto to Cacio e Pepe to tacos on Tuesdays. And while I'm focused on setting a beautiful table, I cannot help but get distracted seeing my handsome home chef work his magic on so many of my favorite recipes. Typically in June, Johannes and I would be getting ready for our summer holidays, so inspired by our past Italian travels, he's whipped up a comforting tomato sauce classic that anyone can make in under 30 minutes.

Here, he used rigatoni pasta as it absorbs the flavors from the tomatoes while the cheese adds a creaminess and richness without being too dense. To brighten up the dish—and bring a touch of Puglia flavor—Johannes swapped out the butter for olive oil (one of our favorites is by Frantoio Muraglia) and dropped in some fresh basil leaves. Below, we break down how to make this delectable dish in your kitchen, and don't forget the wine! frantoio muraglia

Ingredients:
- 1 lb dried pasta
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp butter, softened (or 1 ounce of extra virgin olive oil)
- 2 ½ cups fresh cherry tomatoes (quartered)
- 6 oz mozzarella, at room temperature
- Basil leaves, for garnish

Recipe (adapted from here)
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted boiled water, making sure to keep it quite al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, put olive oil in a wide, deep skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes and basil leaves to the pan and let simmer.
- Once simmered, add cheese and salt and pepper to the pan, letting it break down while coating the tomatoes and basil leaves
- Add drained cooked pasta to the pan and season with more salt and pepper.
- Transfer the pasta to a warm serving bowl and enjoy.

Wine Pairing:
Olivia's a big fan of Italian reds, and the Santi Solane Ripasso Valpolicella from Venice is a beautiful blend that is double fermented for a richer and more complex flavor. 

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