Smoked cheese kicks up the flavor of this weeknight pasta dish. —INGRAIN, Winter 2018
RECIPE / Christina Perozzi
The best and easiest way to include smoke in your cooking? Grab some smoked cheese. This is one of my favorite weeknight pastas. It's also an awesome dish to impress your friends. Garlic-smoked mozzarella with spicy tomato sauce and chubby tunnels of rigatoni, pennoni, or penne rigate pasta catch all of that smoky-sweetness of the cheese.
You can easily change the quantity of each ingredient to feed your crew and tweak the rations of each ingredient depending on your mood. A handful of garlic cloves may sound like a lot, but when the cloves aren't chopped, they caramelize and create delicious pockets of sweet garlicky goodness.
Serves 4 to 5
1 to 2 shallots
Handful whole garlic cloves
16-ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes
16-ounce box large rigatoni (or similar pasta)
8 ounces garlic-smoked mozzarella (cubed)
Torn basil leaves
1 shallot (more if you'd like a chunkier pasta sauce) finely and peel the garlic cloves. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan with a lid and sauté the shallots a few minutes until softened.
Garlic cloves and sauté for a minute or two longer. Sprinkle oregano, salt, and pepper lightly over the shallots and garlic. (If you like mom-and-pop Italian sauces, go heavier on the oregano and salt.)
Tomatoes by hand as you pour them (and all the juice) into the pan. Let the sauce simmer for a good half hour or so and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl (don't wipe out the saucepan) and use the sauce right away, or cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Pasta in salted, boiling water (we don't need to explain that to you, do we?), drain well, and transfer to the saucepan. Ladle generous spoonfuls of sauce, as much as you'd like, on top of the pasta. Scatter the cubed mozzarella and basil on top of the pasta, cover the saucepan with the lid for a few minutes, and serve.