Prep 25 mins
Cook 30 mins
This is another winner from Michael Chiarello. It is made with pastina and the finished product has the creamy consistency of a risotto, hence its name. The sauce make enough for three times, so use what you need for today and freeze the rest to save on prep time the next time you make this.
Sauce (use 1 1/2 cups)
- 28 ounces whole canned tomatoes
- 3 red peppers, cored and cut into large pieces
- 10 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
- kosher salt
- ground black pepper
- 1 lb pastina (I used acini de pepe)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
- 1 1⁄2 cups water
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated plus extra for serving
- 6 cups fresh spinach, firmly packed and torn
- To make the sauce, put the rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the broiler to high.
- Smash the tomatoes by hand and put them and their juice in a large bowl.
- Add the peppers, garlic, oil, vinegar and rosemary.
- Season with salt and pepper and mix the ingredients well.
- Pour out into a shallow baking pan and place the pan on the middle rack of the oven under the broiler for 15 minutes.
- Give the mixture a good stir and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.
- Puree the mixture in a food processor.
- Put aside 1-1/2 cups to make the pasta and freeze the remainder for future use.
- To make the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
- Add the pastina and cook for half the time recommended on the package. The pasta should still be very firm in the centre as it will cook more.
- Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
- Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over high heat.
- Add the garlic and saute until browned.
- Add the oregano and cook briefly to release its fragrance, then add 1-1/2 cups water.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, add the partially cooked pasta, and stir to coat.
- Add the chicken broth, season with salt and pepper, and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the Roasted Tomato and Pepper Sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, then stir in the spinach to wilt.
- Thin, if desired, with some of the reserved pasta water.
- Remove from the heat, place in serving bowls and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
- Serve warm.