At Trento, a new restaurant in Austin, Texas, a generous heaping of serrano chili adds a bright but potent heat. The chef also makes this dish with conchiglie (shell) pasta, which does an excellent job of scooping up the tomato chunks so you get some in every bite.
Saute onion and sliced garlic with extra-virgin olive oil in a medium saucepot. When onion is translucent, add red wine vinegar and bring to a boil. Add peeled tomatoes and 16 whole basil leaves and drop to a low simmer. Reduce until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce is thick.
Remove sauce from heat and season with two tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and kosher salt to taste. Put sauce to the side and keep warm.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. While pasta is boiling, saute diced shallot and garlic in a large saucepan until translucent, then add the fresh thyme and crushed red pepper. Stir, then add the dry white wine. Bring to a boil, then add reserved sauce.
Pour cooked pasta into pan with sauce and stir to coat evenly. Transfer pasta to serving dishes, then garnish with Parmesan and basil.
Published on April 27, 2012