Heirloom Tomato & Spinach Cream Saucy Pasta

Heirloom tomatoes, Spinach, Basil, a dash of cream, and parmesan are all a match made in heaven! A simple weeknight experiment, turned out to be a delicious one.

I found a super interestingly shaped pasta, a tubular one, so I decided to make something creamy and saucy to get in those tubes!  After some research, I think the name of this pasta is Creste di galli, like a crest or a comb of a rooster. If anyone has more insights or correction to what this is called, please let me know.
Any tubular pasta shape will work well with this sauce.

Ingredients:
1 lb pasta (any tubular kind you prefer)
2-3 large heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped (regular tomatoes are okay to use)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced length wise
3 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp crushed red peppers/red chilli flakes (optional)
1 cup cream or half/half
1 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (you could substitute pecorino/romano for a stronger nutty flavor)
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Servings: 6-8

img_0387

 

Instant Pot/Electric Pressure Cooker method:
Press Sauté button and set to normal heat. Heat butter and olive oil until butter melts. Add garlic, basil, red chilli flakes, and sauté for 15 seconds. Add onions and saute for 5-6 minutes, until the onion soften and just about start getting some color. Add tomatoes, cook for 2 minutes to start softening them, by working them gently with the back of the spatula to break them gently.

Add cream, milk, salt, and cook for 5 minutes until tomatoes soften further and the liquid starts bubbling. Add grated parmesan cheese, mix well until the cheese is completely melted. Here’s where you can adjust how ‘saucy’ you want the dish to be. With just the cream and milk, the sauce will be thicker. You can add in a ladle or two of water to thin out more if that’s your preference. Add spinach and cook until it wilts.

Add the dry pasta, and add 5 cups of water (for 1lb of pasta). Water will just about cover the mixture. The water added will deglaze your pot if there are any bits stuck to the bottom. Hit the keep warm/cancel button to turn of saute mode. Click on manual, and set 5 minutes (4 mins if you like it super al dente). QR. Adjust the thinness/thickness to your preference. If there is too much liquid, you can turn sauté mode back on till the liquid is absorbed. If not enough liquid, add more water and let come to a boil. Serve hot with your favorite bread.

Traditional stovetop method:
Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the garlic, basil, red chilli flakes, and sauté for 15 seconds. Add onions and saute for 3-4 minutes, until the onion soften and just about start getting some color. Add tomatoes, cook for 2 minutes to start softening them, by working them gently with the back of the spatula to break them gently.

In the meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. When the water gets boiling, drop the pasta in and cook until al-dente per package instructions. These ones took about 10 minutes to my liking of doneness (very al dente)

To the tomato mixture, over low heat, add cream, milk, salt, and cook for 5 minutes until tomatoes soften further and the liquid starts bubbling. Add grated parmesan cheese, mix well until the cheese is completely melted. Stir in the spinach and saute until it wilts.

Taste the seasonings, and drop in the drained cooked pasta, stir gently but thoroughly to make sure all the pasta is coated with the sauce. Here’s where you can adjust how ‘saucy’ you want the dish to be. with just the cream and milk, the sauce will be thicker. You can always add in a ladle or two of the cooking pasta water to thin out more if that’s your preference. Let simmer on low heat for a few minutes and serve hot with your favorite bread.

img_3048

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s