1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tomato paste
6 tablespoons roasted garlic puree, recipe follows, mashed into a paste
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, broken up, and their juices, seeds discarded
2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (recommended: Emeril’s Kick it Up Red Pepper Sauce)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 pound rigatoni
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chiffonade fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup grated Pecorino
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Roasted Garlic Puree:
4 large heads garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the garlic puree, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, hot sauce and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick and fragrant, 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just barely al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to the pot with the sauce. Add the lemon juice and bring to a simmer and cook until the pasta is well coated and warmed through, about 3 minutes.
Transfer to a large, decorative pasta bowl and toss with the basil and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately and pass the additional 1/4 cup of cheese at tableside.
Roasted Garlic Puree:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.
Cut the top quarter from each head of garlic and place, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the oil over the cut garlic tops, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Turn the garlic cut side down, and roast until the cloves are soft and golden brown, about 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Squeeze each head of garlic, gently pressing with your fingers to expel the cloves into a bowl. Stir the garlic with a rubber spatula to blend thoroughly. Use as needed, or store refrigerated in an airtight container.
Yield: 6 tablespoons