Cavatelli with Arugula Sauce

Cavatelli with Arugula Sauce a

We Americans have come to love arugula in salads and even as a pesto, but lightly cooked it adds a delicious, nutty note to a simple pan sauce. This is also a great way to use up arugula they may have been sitting in the fridge for a few days. 

This is a perfect 15 minute dinner.



Serves 4

1 lb homemade cavatelli or artisan orecchiette pasta ( you can sub penne or gluten free penne)


For the sauce.

2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1/4 cup good olive oil 

pinch of salt

1 can high quality plum tomatoes, squished by hand, reserving the juice too

or the big tomatoes, peeled and squished

Generous handful chopped basil

1 lb arugula

1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese plus more for the table.

and/or ½ cup toasted bread crumbs (for a vegan version)


Note that I said to squish the tomatoes. Dump the contents of the can in a bowl and use your hands. This is good therapy.

Bring a pot of generously salted water to a rolling boil.

Drop in the orecchiette and stir.

Simultaneously, in large heavy skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil.When it is shimmering add the garlic and a pinch of salt.

Stir the pasta again.

When the garlic is getting golden to amber colored add the tomatoes all at once. Turn the heat to high.

Swirl the pan. Let the sauce boil until the pasta is ready.

Check the pasta. When it is al dente add the arugula to the pasta water. Cook one minute and drain.

Cooked pasta and arugula and the basil to the pan. Mix it up. 

Stir in the Romano cheese/and or breadcrumbs, sprinkle more on top and serve right away with more cheese and crushed red pepper on the side



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