Try roasted tomatoes (which you can make yourself easily, or purchase at an upscale food market) instead of the sun-dried for a slightly different, smokier flavor. This is a creamy, vegetarian pasta with simple flavors. The technique of using some of the pasta cooking water in the sauce is an old one; the starch in the cooking water helps to bind the sauce to the pasta. Additionally, cooking the pasta in the sauce itself for the last few minutes infuses the pasta with tons of flavor.
|Kosher salt to taste||1 cup half-and-half|
|1 pound spaghetti or other long skinny pasta||Freshly ground pepper to taste|
|6 scallions, trimmed and cut into pieces, both white and green parts||1/3 cup chopped parsley|
|16 to 20 sundried tomatoes (in oil, drained), roughly chopped||1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve|
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water generously, and let it return to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook accordingly to package directions, stirring occasionally. You will want to drain this pasta and reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid about two minutes before it is thoroughly cooked, as it will continue to cook in the sauce.
While the pasta is cooking, add the scallions, tomatoes and about one quarter cup of half-and-half to a blender or food processor. Puree the mixture. Pour it into a saucepan along with the rest of the half-and-half and heat until almost simmering over medium low heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil or it will separate. Season with salt and pepper.
Drain the almost-cooked pasta, adding the reserved ½ cup pasta cooking water to the creamy sauce. Return the pasta to the large pot, add the sauce, and stir over medium heat for another minute or two until some of the sauce has been absorbed by the pasta, and the pasta is cooked to your liking. Stir in the parsley and the ¼ cup Parmesan and serve hot. Pass the extra Parmesan at the table.
Optional additional ingredients: Add 2 tablespoon drained and rinsed capers along with the Parmesan and parsley, add some shredded fresh basil in addition to, or in place of, the parsley.
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