Penne al rucola
340 grams penne
generous handful of rocket
1 onion finely chopped
2 clv garlic finely chopped
1 lrg sprig of thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
400 grams tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
110 ml red wine
1 teaspoon sugar
The tomato sauce can be made in advance and reheated.
In a wide pan cook the onion garlic and thyme gently in the olive oil without browning until tender.
Add the remaining ingredients and cook hard until reduced to a thick sauce.
Drop in the penne and simmer until al dente.
Meanwhile tear up or chop (I dont think it makes much difference either way) the rocket roughly then reheat the tomato sauce.
Scatter rocket over and serve immediately.
This pasta dish is based on one I ate years ago in the medieval town of Orvieto in Umbria. On several occasions we lunched in a restaurant deep under the town in cellars that were once part of the Medici palace. Penne dressed with a simple tomato sauce (all the better for being made with the juicy sun ripened tomatoes of July here tinned tomatoes are the best substitute) and a handful of roughly torn up rocket featured high on the menu. The heat of the sauce and the pasta is enough to wilt the rocket a little releasing and modifying the taste.
Freshly grated Parmesan is an optional extra though some may feel that the rocket makes it superfluous especially if the word "handful" is interpreted with largesse.