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Video: Bobby Flay whips up traditional pasta dinner

  1. Closed captioning of: Bobby Flay whips up traditional pasta dinner

    >>> 8:37. we're back and this morning on "today's kitchen," how to be a better home cook. and we've gotten an italian favorite from bobby flay . the chef and restaurateur is also one of the mentors in the upcoming season of food network star. always good to see you.

    >> my pleasure.

    >> you say when people come up to you they ask you to make chicken dishes, fish dishes and then tomato sauce .

    >> yes, of course. my wife for instance wants to be able to make five dishes that she has in her repertoire. the simplest dishes are the ones that people really gravitate to. i'm going to show you this dish today. this is tomato sauce . it's got three or four ingredients and i'm going to show you how to cook pasta correctly.

    >> if you follow the basics of tomato sauce isn't it pretty hard to screw up?

    >> anything is possible.

    >> okay.

    >> what's a mistake people make most often?

    >> i think that people put too much stuff in it. and i'm going to show you this right now. this is just onions and zbar lick and some tomato.

    >> a little olive oil in there.

    >> just a little bit of oil. i just sweat the onions in garlic. which means i don't want to achieve any color, just cook it so that the juices come out. and then i take a can of whole tomatoes and i use the juices in there, as well. now what i like to do is i like to have texture in my sauce.

    >> right. i don't puree it in the food processor . i don't put it in the food processor , but what i do is once this starts cooking for about 15 minutes and the tomatoes get nice and soft, i take a -- i'm not going to do it with that suit. and i just kind of press it down. you can see it start to squeeze. you want this to go for about 15 minutes before you start doing that. and you get a really, nice, chunky sauce. pasta , i'm going to use penne today which is a classic shape.

    >> salt the water? how much salt do you put in water like that?

    >> i put in a good pinch. something like that.

    >> and some people put oil in the water as well.

    >> i don't put oil in the water. i just put the pasta into the water and the box says 11 minutes , i cook it for eight. and i cook it for eight because you can actually cook this ahead of time. but the one thing you don't want to do, huge mistake that a lot of americans make with pasta is they take the pasta out, and then they throw water over it. cold water to --

    >> right.

    >> then it starts to water log it. so undercooking the pasta a little bit.

    >> it's going to cook a little bit more as you put it in the sauce.

    >> exactly.

    >> you do it differently than a lot of americans do, also where they just pour the sauce on top of the pasta .

    >> exactly. what i like to do, matt is i have the sauce here and it's nice and hot here. and then i put the pasta , which has been, you know, precooked on top of here. so this is a really key thing. you then have to season the pasta again. because you're putting all this starch into this sauce, and all of a sudden you're going to have a bland dish. and there's no more bland food allowed in this country. people want flavor. okay. so i season it with lots of salt and pepper and some good quality parmesan cheese . and then i stir this up and let the sauce cook with the pasta .

    >> how long would you do his?

    >> probably about a minute or so. not very, very long. we definitely want the pasta to absorb the sauce. okay? then when that's all absorbed and can you see now we've got the salt, the pepper, the parmesan, fresh basil at the very end.

    >> if by some chance you can't find fresh basil you could use dried herbs?

    >> absolutely not. no, i don't put dried herbs in pasta . i don't think they have a good flavor.

    >> okay.

    >> i would just skip it. but you can definitely find fresh herbs. even fresh parsley. what i like to do for this dish, this is something i make all summer long right when it's done i have my basil in there with the pasta , i throw a whole bunch of arugula on top.

    >> just why?

    >> i'm trying to create a nice, light texture. but also it's going to be nice and healthy and it's going to give it a nice peppery flavor, as well. because that's what arugula does.

    >> okay. but then you're not going to cook that very long.

    >> not going to cook it at all. put it right into this bowl like this. it's sort of like having a pasta and salad all at once.

    >> there you go.

    >> just take a spoonful.

    >> there you go.

    >> all right. as i eat this, you're going to come back here and you're going to show us garlic bread ?

    >> exactly.

    >> now i grew up eating not in my house, but in my italian-american friend's house, great garlic bread . it's very, very simple. what i do first though, is i actually toast the bread first.

    >> without anything on it?

    >> just maybe a little olive oil , some salt and pepper . and then, i take some butter, and some garlic. i saute the garlic a little bit. okay.

    >> so you cook the garlic before you put it on.

    >> very, very quickly.

    >> just to draw out the flavor?

    >> to take the rawness out of it. a little salt and pepper . this is softened butter.

    >> was that just for tv or is that as long as you cook that?

    >> very, very quickly. just take the rawness out of the garlic. and then i just throw it over some softened butter and then i just slather the butter on top of the garlic bread . okay. that's what i'm talking about, matt.

    >> you don't even need the pasta dish.

    >> let me explain something to you.

    >> now you're talking.

    >> let me explain to make sure it's nice and healthy we take the fresh garlic and put it on top.

    >> this qualifies as health food right now.

    >> absolutely. absolutely. listen if you're going to go for it you might as well go for it.

    >> you put that back in the broiler? or that's it?

    >> as long as the bread is nice and hot it's going to melt and just kind of eat away.

    >> you don't serve your guests you just start eating away yourself?

    >> you never asked. you never asked.

    >> all right. all right. let me take a bite. it's garlic.

    >> it's butter.

    >> really good.

    >> goes really well with the pasta .

    >> take a little break here. and say bobby flay thank

TODAY recipes
updated 4/27/2012 3:32:56 PM ET 2012-04-27T19:32:56

Recipe: Penne with tomato sauce, arugula and parmesan with garlic bread

  • Pasta
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • Tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • Sugar, if needed
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 4 ounces baby arugula
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 4 ounces baby arugula
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Garlic bread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped to a paste
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 French baguette, halved lengthwise
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves

For the pasta, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. If using fine salt, use 1 tablespoon. Stir in the pasta, cover the pot and bring to a boil.  Cook until just slightly under al dente (it will continue cooking in the sauce, about 8 minutes).  Remove 1 cup of the pasta water and reserve. Drain the pasta well. 

To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large high sided sauté pan. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and half of the reserved juice and bring to a simmer, cook for 15 minutes and then gently crush the tomatoes with a potato masher until slightly smooth. Taste for seasoning and add sugar if needed. Add the chile flakes and continue cooking until thicken, about 25 to 30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Season the sauce with the salt and pepper to taste.

Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss to coat evenly. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water, if needed and ½ cup of the cheese. Stir in the arugula and herbs. Transfer to a platter and serve with the remaining cheese on the side.

For the garlic bread, heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove and let cool slightly. Stir the garlic into the butter and season with salt and pepper. Preheat the broiler. Put the bread a baking sheet, cut-side up and broil until lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove and slather each half with the butter. Return to the broiler and broil until bubbly, about 2 minutes  longer, remove from the broiler, transfer to a cutting board, sprinkle with parsley and cut into pieces.

Serving Size

Serves 4

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