I picked this one out from Lidia's Italy, a book with some wonderful recipes. Most of her pasta dishes are bare bones, and this one is no exception. It's kind of a tomato sauce, but only cooked for five-ish minutes, leaving the tomatoes bright and sugary. The arugula adds a little bitterness, and the red pepper flakes provide a nice bit of heat.
I couldn't find any cavatelli (the preferred pasta for this creation), strascinate (the second pick), or even humble orecchiette (which I really should have been able to find). So I used this shell-shaped pasta called conchiglie rigate—a shape that was new to me. But it more than worked. It trapped the sauce, surprising some bites with unexpected flavor.
- 1 pound pasta
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes (about 1 pound), rinsed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 pound arugula
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano
Chop the tomatoes up into half-inch pieces. Pour the olive oil into a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes until they have softened, about five minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Sprinkle in a few tablespoons of salt. When boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the direction on the box. With about six minutes left in the time, add the arugula to the pot. Reserve half a cup of pasta water, and drain the pasta and arugula.
Turn the skillet with the tomatoes back to medium high, and then toss in the pasta and arugula. Stir together, and cook for a minute or so, adding some of the reserved pasta water if it is too dry. Season with extra salt and freshly grated cheese.