I have a habit of tossing huge pinches of red pepper flakes into all pasta dishes that cross my stove, so I was immediately drawn to the Bucatini Fra Diavolo in the new Franny's cookbook. Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark's recipe takes this classically spicy tomato sauce and freshens it up with close to a full cup of fresh herbs. A hefty pour of olive oil counters the spice, adding glistening decadence to the pasta. It'll look like far too much oil in the pan, but trust in the recipe. You'll want that oil to counter the acidic tomatoes and spicy chiles.
Why I picked this recipe: I'll try any pasta sauce full of red pepper flakes and olive oil.
What worked: This super quick and easy spicy tomato sauce is taken to a new level with tons of olive oil and a garden-full of fresh herbs.
What didn't: Be sure to stir the sauce frequently once you've added the tomato purée to keep splatters (mostly) at bay.
Suggested tweaks: While this pasta is intended to be served hot straight from the pot, I've also enjoyed the leftovers cold from the refrigerator.
Reprinted with permission from Franny's: Simple seasonal Italian by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark. Copyright 2013. Published by Artisan. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 8 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 cups San Marzano tomato puree
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound bucatini
- 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped mint
- 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Scant 3 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus more if desired
In a very large skillet (or a Dutch oven), warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and golden, about 3 minutes. Add the chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the tomato puree, season with salt to taste, and cook until the oil separates, the tomato solids start to fry, and the sauce has thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water to the pan. Remove from the heat.
In a large pot of well-salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until 2 minutes shy of al dente; drain.
Toss the bucatini into the skillet with the tomato sauce, herbs, and butter. Cook over medium heat until the pasta is just al dente, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano and pepper, adding more water if the sauce seems dry.
Divide the pasta among individual serving plates or bowls and finish each with 2 teaspoons or more Pecorino Romano and a drizzle of olive oil.