Pasta “Moulinier Style”

The interesting thing about this dish is that it cooks dried pasta just like risotto. Because of the initial sautéing in olive oil, butter, and aromatics and the gradual additions of liquid, the resulting texture is al dente.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ¼ pound red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ pound yellow, waxy potatoes, peeled, cut in ¼-inch-thick slices
  • 14 ounces tubular artisanal durum wheat pasta, such as macaroni or penne
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 large sprig fresh basil, stemmed, stems and leaves saved
  • 2 large ripe, red tomatoes, cored, quartered
  • 4 cups Rich Brown Chicken Stock
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Method

Heat half the olive oil in a large nonreactive skillet. Add the butter and as soon as it melts, add the scallions and red onion. Cover and sweat over low heat just until soft, about 4 minutes.

Add the potatoes, stir, and cook uncovered over medium heat for another 3 minutes, stirring the vegetables several times with a spatula.

Add the pasta, a little salt and pepper, the garlic, and the basil stems. Cook, stirring as if cooking a risotto, for 5 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add 1 cup of the chicken stock. Cook at a low simmer, adding more of the chicken stock about ½ cup at a time and stirring gently, until the pasta is completely cooked, another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic clove and basil stems.

Cut the basil leaves into strips about ¼ inch wide.

Sprinkle the cheese over the pasta and mix it in gently. Add half the remaining olive oil and the cut basil leaves and mix in delicately. Check for seasoning. Divide among 4 heated open soup plates. Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top, add a grinding of pepper, and serve immediately.

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