Typically found in Tuscan trattorie , this pasta dish is a delicious primo piatto, made with simple, hearty ingredients – to create a traditional “piatto povero”, a “porr dish”. Trattorie are in fact restaurants spread throughout the whole of Italy that offer classic dishes and old favourites. They come alive during weekday lunch hours where workers grab their lunch, sit with strangers and enjoy a cheeky glass of wine. The prices are low but the dishes are comforting and warming.
I adapted this recipe from two of my favourite cookbooks: Emiko Davies’ Florentine and Acquacotta – my go to cookbooks and person for all things Tuscany. Penne strascicate are a favourite dish from the region of Florence. Traditionally made with sugo toscano – a traditional meat ragu’, I made decided to make the dish with “sugo finto”, a tomato based sauced with no meat – hence the name “fake”. The vegetable ragu is a thick and chunky one with the “soffritto” of onion, carrot and celery a bit more substantial and chunkier than in a regular tomato sauce.
Penne are the ideal pasta type for this dish – as they absorb the creamy sauce which fills the insides of the tubes, ensuring a good quantity of sugo with every mouthful. I used Pasta Garofalo‘s Penne Ziti rigate. The method of cooking the pasta directly in the sauce is also called “pasta risottata”, meaning pasta cooked like a risotto. Penne strascicate refers to the dragging action of the spoon when cooking the pasta in the sauce with the parmesan. The result is a chunky but creamy sugo, ideal for the “scarpetta” post eating, where you mop up the sauce with a piece of bread.
- 1 brown onion - finely chopped
- 1 carrot - finely chopped
- 1 celery stick - finely chopped
- 2 tbsp of evo oil
- 2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
- A handful of fresh parsley, or a few tsp of dried parsley
- ¼ cup of white wine
- 400g of tinned peeled tomatoes
- 1 cup of water
- Salt and pepper
- 250g of penne (Pasta Garofalo)
- 50g of grated parmesan cheese
- Heat the evo oil in a large saucepan on low heat and add the finely chopped carrot, celery and onion, along with the garlic and parsley. Add a pinch of salt and let the vegetables slowly cook and soften for about 10 minutes.
- When the vegetables have softened, add the white wine - turn up the heat up to medium and continue cooking for 3 minutes or until the wine has evaporated.
- Add the tinned tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Break the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.
- Bring to a simmer over low-medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally for 30-40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and once boiling add the pasta and cook for 6 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving a cup full of the cooking water.
- Add the drained pasta to the sauce, cook for 10 minutes over medium heat - stirring continuously, adding some pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce.
- Add the grated parmesan with a few minutes to spare.
- Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pasta Garofalo, however all opinions are my own.