Ingredient List Print Recipe
- 1 whole head of garlic
- 9 large tomatoes
- 1 pound dried penne pasta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 large pinch crushed red pepper, or more to taste
- Black pepper
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
Charred Tomato Sauce with Penne Pasta
This chunky charred tomato sauce will brighten up your summer table. I like to prepare this pasta Roman-style by adding mint, parsley and crushed red pepper for a little kick. Charring the garlic and tomatoes directly on hot coals intensifies the flavor and lends a lovely smokiness. Be sure to use natural lump charcoal rather than briquettes, because it doesn’t have any additives, it burns hotter and tastes better. If you don’t have a charcoal grill, place the vegetables on a sheet tray under your broiler and cook until blackened on the outside.
Light a chimney full of natural hardwood charcoal. When it’s white hot, dump into the bottom of a charcoal grill. Tap the coals lightly to get rid of some of the ash. Place the whole head of garlic and the tomatoes directly on the coals. Cook until charred on the outside, about 10 minutes per side for the garlic and 3 minutes per side for the tomatoes. Use long handled tongs to flip the vegetables carefully, trying not to kick up any extra ash. Remove from the grill and bring inside to make the sauce.
In a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and reserve.
Place the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Remove and peel six garlic cloves from the whole head of garlic you charred on the grill (reserve any extras for another use). Add the garlic to the olive oil.
Using a paring knife, core the charred tomatoes and remove the stem. Coarsely chop and reserve.
Add the Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, black pepper, salt and onion to the saucepan. Stir and cook for a few minutes, until onions turn glassy. Pour in the white wine and bring to a simmer. Add the reserved chopped tomatoes to the pan and bring back to a simmer. Cook for about 12 to 15 minutes. Add the reserved pasta to the sauce, along with half of chopped herbs. Season with salt. Cook for 2 more minutes, allowing the pasta to soak up some of the sauce. Serve, garnishing with parmesan cheese and remaining herbs.
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