It’s a total myth that you need a bunch of cheese, butter and cream to make a decadent pasta dish. Want proof? Look no further than this recipe for sun-dried tomato, basil and balsamic bucatini, from The Vegan Pasta Cookbook by Rebecca Hincke. Oh yeah, and we should mention: It’s vegan, too.
“The secret ingredient is balsamic vinegar,” she writes, “which adds a rich and tangy depth of flavor that takes this pasta to the next level.”
Slurping is encouraged.
Reprinted with permission from The Vegan Pasta Cookbook by Rebecca Hincke. Page Street Publishing Co., 2022.
Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant, Basil & Pecorino
10 ounces dried bucatini (or other long noodles like spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, etc.)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
10½ ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered or diced
3½ ounces sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2½ cups baby spinach, chopped
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped, plus more to serve
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and sauté the onion until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before adding the cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and vinegar. Cook until the tomatoes have softened and start becoming jammy, 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Add the spinach and basil, and stir into the sauce until the leaves have wilted. If the sauce is getting too sticky, you can add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to help loosen it a little. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. When the pasta is cooked to al dente, reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir together to completely coat the noodles. Use the reserved pasta cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce to your liking. Garnish with basil and pepper before serving.