Risotto-Style Penne with Tomatoes and Zucchini Blossoms

Fabio Trabocchi, an F&W Best New Chef, likes this unusual method of cooking pasta in the style of risotto to create a rich, silky sauce. "It works beautifully with small shapes like penne," he says. A really good imported slow-dried pasta will be quite porous, which allows it to soak up liquid bit by bit, just as rice does in risotto; it also means the pasta will maintain its shape as it becomes al dente.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6
KEY: Staff Favorite

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  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 pound slow-dried penne rigate
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 pound heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunk
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 3/4 cup torn basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 4 zucchini blossoms, stems and pistils removed, blossoms halved, for garnish (optional)
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino cheese, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the stock and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Keep warm over very low heat.

  2. In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of oil. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the penne and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 11/2 cups of the warm stock mixture and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until nearly absorbed. Stir in the marinara sauce; bring to a simmer. Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently, until nearly absorbed before adding more. The pasta is done when it's al dente and the sauce is thick, about 25 minutes total.

  3. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until just starting to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Add the tomatoes to the pasta and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the 3/4 cup of basil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to bowls and garnish with the zucchini blossoms (if using) and basil. Serve right away with cheese.

Suggested Pairing

Cherry-rich Sangiovese.

Contributed By Photo © Christina Holmes Published September 2016

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1083971 recipes/risotto-style-penne-tomatoes-and-zucchini-blossoms 2016-08-01 Fabio Trabocchi |6 september-2016 recipes,risotto-style-penne-tomatoes-and-zucchini-blossoms 1083971