I was saddened to hear that Jason Molina passed away last weekend at thirty-nine. Molina was a touchstone of my musical upbringing. I distinctly remember seeking out Magnolia Electric Co. at Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis when I was in high school. His music provided something that my affinity for the Beatles and 60s pop otherwise lacked: a spare, haunting, often brooding mood and tone. While the rocking and country inflected Magnolia Electric Co. is powerful and a record I often come back to, Didn’t it Rain has always been my favorite. I always find a level of tranquility in the plodding rhythms, forlorn lyrics and space present in the recordings.
Secretly Canadian, Molina’s longtime record label, has a very nice write-up.
Pasta! We don’t usually make a lot of pasta, because Sarah and I have opposing ideologies when it comes to noodley dishes: she likes thick, creamy, and meaty sauces, while I prefer my noodles with just a little cheese and butter or oil.
However, I think we’ve just found a happy compromise! This recipe from the Splendid Table has tomatoes, but a lot of the sauciness comes from goat cheese. This might be the perfect combination to satisfy both of us. Plus, the cinnamon really sets it apart from your usual pasta meal. If you you are in a pasta rut, this might just help.
Hollow Pasta with Greek Cinnamon-Tomato Sauce
- 5 quarts salted water in a 6-quart pot
- Good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/3 tighty-packed cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/4 teaspoons dried oregano (Greek oregano preferred)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper or other medium-hot chile; or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white or red wine
- 2 pounds ripe summer tomatoes; or one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with their juice
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups diced cooked chicken or lamb (organic if possible; optional)
- 1 pound imported long hollow pasta like perciatelli, maccheroncelli, or ziti, broken into more or less 2-inch pieces, or short hollow pasta
- 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Bring the salted water to a boil.Generously film the bottom of a straight-sided 12-inch saute pan with olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, parsley, and generous sprinklings of salt and pepper. Saute the onions to golden brown. Then stir in the tomato paste, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, sugar, and Aleppo pepper. Turn the heat down to medium and saute for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute.
If using fresh tomatoes, grate them on a grater over a bowl, and add the pulp with its juices to the pan. For canned tomatoes, crush them as they go into the pot. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the sauce for 8 minutes, or until thick. Taste for seasoning, remove the pan from the heat, and if using the chicken or lamb, stir it in. Cover the pan.
Drop the pasta into the boiling water. Boil, stirring often, for 8 minutes, or until the pasta is tender but still has a little bite. As the pasta cooks, reheat the sauce over medium-high heat. Once the pasta is done, drain it in a colander and add it to the sauce. Toss over the heat for a minute or more to help the sauce permeate the noodles. Turn half of it into a serving bowl and dot with half of the cheese. Add the rest of the pasta and top with the remaining cheese.
from the Splendid Table