There are evenings when I crave pizza but don't have the time to prepare it. That's when I turn to this pasta dish, one that has all my favorite pizza toppings turned into a sauce. Penne is the preferred pasta here, because it's sturdy enough to stand up to the rustic trimmings.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1 pound Italian penne pasta
  • 2 cups tomato sauce, or one 28-ounce can diced Italian tomatoes in juice
  • 1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup best-quality, brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved lengthwise
  • 12 artichoke hearts, marinated in olive oil, drained and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup capers in vinegar, drained
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 8 ounces Italian, whole-milk mozzarella, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Hot red-pepper flakes, for serving

Directions


In the pasta pot, bring 8 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the salt and the pasta, stirring to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook until tender but firm to the bite.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan that is large enough to hold the cooked pasta, combine the tomato sauce or canned tomatoes, rosemary, olives, artichokes, capers and fennel seeds. Simmer while the pasta is cooking.

When the pasta is cooked, remove the pot from the heat. Remove the colander and drain the pasta over the sink, shaking to remove the excess water. Immediately transfer the drained pasta to the sauce in the saucepan. Toss to evenly coat the pasta. Cover and let rest for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the pasta to thoroughly absorb the sauce. Taste for seasoning. Transfer to the warmed soup bowls and garnish with the cheese and basil. Pass the red pepper flakes.

From The French Kitchen Cookbook (William Morrow) by Patricia Wells.

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