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Tomato Basil Rigatoni


-2 28 ounce cans whole peeled plum tomatoes (buy best available)

-1 cup red wine

-6 Tbsp plus 3 Tbsp olive oil

-8 to 10 whole garlic cloves, smashed with skin removed

-12 large leaves of basil, plus more for garnish

-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

-1 1/2 boxes of Rigatoni

-1/2 cup salty pasta water

-1 ball of mozzarella, diced


-Ready two bowls. Open cans of tomatoes. Take each tomato and gently squeeze it's juices and seeds into the first bowl. Drop tomato into the other bowl.

-Heat a low pot over medium heat. Once hot, add 3 Tbsp olive oil. Once olive oil is hot, add tomatoes to pot and let soften 2-3 minutes. Mash tomatoes with a potato masher (you can use a fork if you don't have one). Let the tomatoes cook for 3 minutes then mash them again.

-Add 1 cup of red wine to the tomatoes and stir with a wooden spoon. Keeping the heat at medium, let the sauce cook for 30 to 45 minutes continuing to stir and mash occasionally. If the sauce gets too thick after 10-15 minutes, strain in some of the reserved tomato juices to thin it.

-Fill a large pot with enough water (8 quarts or so) to cook a box and a half of rigatoni. Salt it really heavily, until it tastes like salty ocean water. Bring the water to a boil.

-Put the smallest pan you have (preferably a cast iron skillet) over lowest possible heat. Add 6 Tbsp olive oil to pan. Add garlic, basil leaves and red pepper flakes and let them cook until the garlic turns brown, about 10-15 minutes. You can add more basil as it wilts.

-Once your water is boiling, add pasta and cook until just past al dente, about 10 minutes.

-Dice mozzarella into 1 inch cubes. Set aside.

-Once garlic is brown, remove garlic/basil/oil mixture from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Once cool, strain the oil through a sieve into a bowl, leaving the basil and garlic behind. Add the garlic/basil infused oil to the tomato sauce.

-Pasta should be cooked now. Before draining it, scoop out 1/2 a cup of the salty pasta water and pour it into your tomato sauce. Stir. Let it cook 5 more minutes.

-Drain pasta.

-To serve: combine rigatoni with tomato sauce and mozzarella and mix. Top with basil.

**Store in fridge for up to one week

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