Italian Penne Pasta Dinner
A quick, healthy pasta dish with basil and pine nuts that even picky eaters will like.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Penne, 1 lb (500 g)
- Pine nuts, 1/3 cup (2 oz/60 g)
- Olive oil, 6 tablespoons (3 fl oz/90 ml)
- Fine bread crumbs, 1 cup (2 oz/60 g)
- Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
- Dry white wine, 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml)
- Red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon
- Parmesan cheese, 1/4 lb (125 g), freshly grated
- Fresh basil leaves, 2/3 cup (1 oz/30 g) slivered
1. Cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the pasta is al dente, according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot.
2. Prepare the sauce.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, toast pine nuts, stirring often, until fragrant and golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pan, add the bread crumbs, and toss until toasted and golden, 1–2 minutes. Add to the bowl with the pine nuts and stir to mix. Reduce the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pan. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and red pepper flakes, bring to a boil, and simmer until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.
3. Finish the dish.
Add the hot pasta along with the remaining 4 tablespoons (2 fl oz/60 ml) oil to the wine sauce in the pan and toss to coat the pasta. Add the bread crumb mixture, the cheese, and the basil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among shallow bowls and serve.
To make fresh bread crumbs, use day-old bread, ideally from a baguette or country loaf. Alternatively, dry fresh slices in a 300°F (150°C) oven for about 10 minutes. Tear the bread into large pieces and process in a food processor to make crumbs.
Recipe from Meals in Minutes Simple Suppers, copyright 2011, Weldon Owen Inc.