18 October 2009

Aurora. Pasta for the undecided.

Pasta Aurora. Just the name sounds smooth and velvety. I call it pasta for the undecided, as my husband and I often argue, if we should have pasta with a tomato-based sauce or rather a cream-based sauce like carbonara or al limone. So most times if we can't convince each other, we settle for a compromise: cream and tomato in equal parts.

It's easy, it's delicious and consists of things I always have at home. This is just a very basic recipe - you can change it and go as minimalistic (just tomato paste, cream, salt and pepper) or as exorbitantly creative as you like. This time, I went for onions, garlic and red wine - just because I had those things within reach and find them delicious...


250 g of your favorite pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup / 125 ml red wine - optional
1 cup / 200 g tomato paste
1 cup / 200 g cream
salt and pepper
fresh basil
Parmesan cheese for serving

Those are your two main players: cream and tomato paste. You'll need approximately equal parts, but please adjust the ratio to your taste! If you generally like your sauce on the creamy side (like I do), just add as much more cream as you like and you have in your fridge.

Here's a tip for keeping tomato paste: I prefer to buy it in big cans but I don't like keeping open cans in the fridge - even if they say it's OK if they are coated on the inside. Anyway, I fill the rest of the tomato paste into a jar and top it off with oil - better vegetable than olive oil as the latter will crystallize in the low temperatures of your refrigerator.

Heat up a fairly big pan - regular or nonstick is up to you - on medium heat and put in some olive oil. Dice the onion and the garlic and let them get translucent and very slightly browned.

While you're at it, bring enough salted water to boil and cook your pasta - test if they're al dente and drain them.

This step is entirely optional - I simply had an open bottle of red, so I just thought: why not? It would be equally tasty with white wine or perhaps a little bit of vermouth.
Just pour the liquid on top of the onions and let it cook on medium until it's almost gone.

See, most of the wine is gone and the rest looks like syrup (chefs call that a reduction). Go ahead and add the tomato paste. Stir it into the onion paste.

Time to add the cream. Don't be shy. I will be delicious.

Stir slowly until you have a uniform sauce with approximately this bright orange color. Add the seasoning you like - salt and pepper are a must of course. But perhaps some Italian herbs or a little bit of sugar and balsamic vinegar would be nice.

Drain the pasta and mix it together with your sauce. Serve on your favorite plate with heaps of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and some basil.


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