2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 plum tomatoes--peeled, quartered and seeded
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound (1-1/2 cups) ditalini or other small-cut pasta
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup tightly packed freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (2-1/2 oz), plus more for serving
Freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons snipped chives
2 Tablespoons finely shredded basil leaves
1. In a med. saucepan, combine the olive oil with the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf and half of the garlic and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat until the tomatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes. Discard the thyme and bay leaf. Using a slotted spoon transfer the tomatoes to a work surface and coarsely chop them.
2. In a lg. saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt; cook over moderate heat, stirring until softened, 5 minutes. Add the pasta and cook, stirring until golden in spots, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining garlic; cook for one minute.
3. Add 1/2 cup broth to the pasta and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and cooking until it is nearly absorbed between additions. The pasta is done when it is al dente and suspended in a slightly thickened sauce, about 17 mins. total.
4. Stir the tomatoes into the pasta. Off the heat, add the goat cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the chives and basil and serve immediately, passing additional Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table.
This recipe slightly modified from 2009 Food & Wine annual cookbook