Sometimes the most uncomplicated and natural things, like this Penne Pomodoro, have the most complex flavor to them, and remind us that it’s the simple things in life that often offer the most pleasure.
At heart, I’m a very simple gal.
I tend to favor things of a natural nature, those things that are allowed to exude their uncomplicated inner beauty, and that radiate a confidence that says, “what you see is what you get, and that’s good enough!”
I love the scent of a freshly-plucked stem of lavender; I love the brightness and zip that a little squeeze of lemon can bring to a cup of tea in the afternoon; I love the cooler breeze in the early evening in late summer; and I love an easy conversation between myself and my husband that contains simple honesty, and unadulterated sharing that comes straight from the heart.
The flavors of things of a simple nature can be utterly profound, and that’s what I find so fascinating; that so many times there is more exquisite joy and fullness to be found in those things that easily come together without too many elements to complicate them, and it’s quite a comforting thing.
Food is a wonderful reminder that amazing and brilliant flavor can be found in something very simple.
Tomatoes have a subtle sweetness and tanginess that needs very little in order to make them a pleasure to partake in; they need only the simple addition of a touch of good olive oil, a bit of garlic, and a little sprinkle of fresh herbs to turn them into a glorious and fresh Pomodoro sauce that can glossily dress a bit of tender penne and awaken ones palette.
Food teaches us that the fullness of flavor that we experience when we partake in it is no different from the deep flavor that we can experience when we enjoy life’s other simpler offerings.
We realize that we can find satisfaction in another’s touch; in their kind gesture, or in their words; in an acknowledgement; and in the simple phrase, “I love you”.
Somehow, those things with the fullest and richest flavors often seem to be those things of a simple nature, and perhaps that is because they have no airs.
They speak only from their inner essence, that place within that feels comfortable with just being, just existing, and they allow that to communicate volumes.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Penne Pomodoro with Lemon-Herb Ricotta
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4
• Olive oil
• 1 small onion, finely diced
• 6 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
• Black pepper
• Pinch red pepper flakes
• ½ teaspoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1 tablespoon julienned basil
• 8-10 ounces (roughly half a package) dry penne pasta, cooked according to package instructions, warm
• Lemon-Herb Ricotta (recipe below), for garnish
• Parmesan cheese, for garnish
-Place a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil; once hot, add in the onion, and saute it for a few minutes until it begins to become a light, golden-brown.
-Add in the garlic and stir, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the diced tomatoes, along with about 1 teaspoon of salt, a pinch or two black pepper, and the pinch of red pepper flakes, and stir to incorporate; cover the pan/skillet, and allow the sauce to simmer gently on low for 15 minutes.
-To finish, stir in the sugar, the chopped parsley and the julienned basil, plus check to see if additional salt and pepper is needed; add in your warm, cooked penne and toss to combine; add in a drizzle of olive oil, and spoon into bowls.
-Garnish/top with a couple of generous tablespoons of the Lemon-Herb Ricotta, plus some parmesan cheese, if desired.
Lemon-Herb Ricotta Ingredients:
• 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1 teaspoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• Pinch salt
• Pinch black pepper
-Add all ingredients to a small bowl, and carefully fold them together just until combined (take care not to over mix to keep the integrity of the ricotta); use immediately, or keep in a covered container in fridge.