Lunchbreak: Cavatelli pomodoro

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Executive Chef Mark Sparacino

710 N. Wells
(312) 951-9500

Cavatelli Pomodoro
Serves 2- 4

1 pound cavatelli (substitute any fresh short pasta)
3-4 cups basic tomato sauce – see above
1/2 pound heirloom cherry tomatoes (halved)
2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3 to 4 Tablespoons loose basil pesto (a little extra extra virgin olive oil added to pesto)
2-3 Tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
5-8 fresh basil leaves – chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste

Boil cavatelli until they float in well salted water (typically 4-6 minutes)do not rinse. Add to half the simmering tomato sauce along with cherry tomatoes. Add additional tomato sauce if necessary. Simmer together for 2-3 minutes, portion into bowls. Drizzle basil pesto, crumbled goat cheese and toasted pine nuts. Finish with fresh basil.

Basil Pesto

3 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup lightly packed Italian parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon lightly toasted pine nuts
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blanch basil and parsley 10 – 15 seconds in boiling water, submerge immediately into ice water. Remove after 15 seconds, squeeze dry with paper towel (try to remove as much water as possible)
Coarsely chop and add to food processor or blender. Add half oil, garlic, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Blend will until somewhat smooth. Slowly adding the remainder of the oil. Add cheese and pulse a few times until combined. Set aside, placing plastic wrap directly on top of pesto to keep from turning brown.

Basic Tomato Sauce

2 Tablespoons olive oil, give or take
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
2 28 oz. cans whole plum tomato (California or San Marzano)
3 to 4 ounces, dry white wine (good enough to drink)
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a heavy-based medium sized pot, add oil and onions. Bring temp to medium, sauté onions until translucent. About 5-7 minutes, making sure not to brown the onions. Add white wine allow to evaporate almost entirely. Add tomatoes, a few pinches of salt. Bring temp up to medium high, allow to simmer 25-30 minutes. Stirring frequently to keep tomatoes from sticking to bottom of pan. Use a potato masher to smash tomatoes to a somewhat chunky consistency. Continue to simmer 5-8 minutes, remembering to stir.

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