I was at Target of all places today when the inspiration for tonight’s dinner struck. In the kitchenware aisle, there was a section of Giada de Laurentis’ cooking gadgets, and alongside them was a variety of pasta (her own name brand) of various shapes. Among them was one that I have had the hardest time finding, Fusilli Col Buco! It is a long, hollow, twisted noodle that cooks up to look like perfect ringlets, and is also known as Fusilli Bucati. Trader Joe’s used to carry this, but they don’t anymore, and I haven’t found another store that consistently has it. If you can get your hands on this pasta, it is so much fun!
I thought it would go well with a slightly creamy sauce either based on tomatoes or red peppers. Having neither in my kitchen, I used some canned tomatoes here and added a hint of creaminess with some blended raw almonds, and the results were delightful.
- 1 lb dry fusilli col buco pasta
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3-4 large cloves garlic, divided
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp agave nectar
- 2 Tbsp sliced raw almonds
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
- 1/4 cup white wine
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a blender*, combine diced tomatoes and their juices, 2-3 whole peeled cloves garlic, thyme leaves, sea salt, agave nectar, and almonds. Blend well until smooth and creamy. Drizzle in 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and blend to emulsify. Add in basil leaves (no need to chop them) and pulse until they are blended in, but you can still see small specks of basil.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, for the pasta. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add remaining clove of finely minced garlic. Sautee garlic for about 1 minute, then pour in sauce. Stir to combine and let simmer until sauce is heated through. Add white wine and black pepper to taste, reduce heat, and continue to simmer while you cook the pasta.
Drain the pasta (do not rinse) and add into the skillet. Gently stir the pasta into the sauce. It will seem very saucy at first. Keep heat on medium low and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until sauce has thickened around the pasta. Drizzle portions with extra-virgin olive oil and a little bit of extra freshly-ground black pepper. Enjoy!
* I own a Vita-Mix blender, so this sauce came out incredibly smooth for me. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, the sauce might be chunkier, but I imagine that would still be enjoyable.