Go-To Recipe: Capellini with Red Sauce

It sounds tragic, but my family didn’t eat a lot of Italian meals when I was growing up. I mean, sure, we would do the occasional lasagna or spaghetti dish, but we weren’t huge pasta people. My boyfriend’s family, on the other hand, has it in their blood. His step-father is Italian (and his mom’s a chef), so I’ve eaten some of the best Italian dishes I’ve ever tasted while at their house. Boy, does that family know how to make a mean red sauce and meatballs!

Fortunately, Harrison has passed on a few of his Italian cooking skills to me, and now one of my favorite dishes to make is this simple Capellini with Red Sauce. Paired with a glass (or two!) of red wine, it’s the perfect way to wind down on Sunday night after a nice, relaxing weekend. The best part: It makes enough leftovers for several meals throughout the week!


Capellini with Red Sauce

Yield: 5 servings

5 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

Fresh basil leaves, chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 cups grape tomatoes

1 (12-ounce) can plain tomato sauce

Kosher salt

Grated Parmesan

1/2 pound capellini

1/2 tablespoon butter

1. In medium sauce pan, combine chopped garlic and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté garlic on low heat until it gives off a fragrant smell.

2. Add in 2 chopped basil leaves, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and tomatoes. Increase temperature to low-medium heat and cover, stirring occasionally.

3. When tomatoes start to burst, stir in can of tomato sauce and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar; add a pinch of salt, to taste. Raise heat to medium and keep covered, stirring occasionally.

4. Once sauce begins to bubble, lower heat to low. Add grated Parmesan, to taste (I use about 2-3 tablespoons), and 2 additional chopped basil leaves. Cover and let simmer.

5. Meanwhile, in medium Dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon salt to 4 quarts water, and boil.

6. Add 1/2 pound capellini to boiling water. Cook for 3-4 minutes and drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.

7. In Dutch oven, combine pasta, reserved water, 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil.

8. Slowly mix red sauce with pasta, 1-2 spoonfuls at a time. Serve with grated Parmesan and chopped basil leaves.


Do you make your own pasta sauce? And what are some of your favorite pasta recipes? Share in the comments section!


2 thoughts on “Go-To Recipe: Capellini with Red Sauce

  1. Pingback: I Tried It: Chipotle-Lime Penne | Just a Dash

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