PENNE WITH ARUGULA AND TOMATOES

Freshly picked greens and herbs are essential to cooking in the Apulia region of Italy. Their assertive, often bitter flavor enriches many a modest dish. Here, a just-cooked tomato sauce is enlivened with the peppery taste of arugula.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped, or 3 cups diced canned tomatoes with juices
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon sugar

12 ounces penne, rigatoni or fusilli pasta
6 ounces arugula (about 6 bunches), tough stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes, herbs and sugar. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before using.)

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Add arugula and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain. Return pasta and arugula to pot. Add sauce and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide pasta among plates. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

6 Servings

Bon Appétit
May 1995


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