Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tag Pic Pac Pasta

Happy First Day of Spring of Everyone!

I wish I could say it was a beautiful spring day here, but it is not unless you think cloudy, 40 degrees, flurries all day long is spring weather. But I'm going with it and believing it's here.

The first day of spring has inspired me to think about what I would like to grow in my garden this year and how to lighten up some of our favorite winter time meals. We eat a lot of pasta in our house. On a day like today I would love to be diving into a big plate of homemade spaghetti & meatballs. Why not, it's the best hearty meal in my opinion. But it can be a heavy meal, so this is the first meal I thought of' that can be replaced with something a bit lighter in the upcoming summer months. I grow basil and tomatoes in containers on my deck all summer long so a pasta with a lighter sauce using garden fresh tomatoes and basil would be a good replacement for this menu item in our house.

Tag Pic Pac Pasta, like at Carrabba's, is a perfect dish to make. Two summers ago while visiting an amusement park in Pennsylvania, we went to a Carrabba's for the first time. I had Tag Pic Pac Pasta made with fresh tagliarini topped with tomatoes & basil - oh my !! It was delish. Some time after our visit, I found they shared their recipe on their website. I've made it several times and we all love it (any time of year, but especially in the summer). This recipe really tastes as good as it does in the restaurant. Have a try! 

Note: This recipe uses canned tomatoes but could easily be replaced with garden fresh Roma tomatoes. 

Tag Pic Pac Pasta ...

Picchi Pacchiu Sauce

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (28 ounce) whole Roma tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound fresh tagliarinior fettuccine


  1. To make the sauce, heat the oil and garlic together in a small skillet over medium-low heat just enough so the garlic is soften and fragrant and the oil is very warm (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat and let stand to infuse the oil, about 30 minutes.
  2. Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a bowl.  Squeeze the tomatoes through your fingers until they are coarsely crushed.  Stir in the garlic in its oil and the chopped basil.  Season with Kosher salt and pepper.  Let stand for 1 - 2 hours for the flavors to marry.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.  Add salt to taste.  Add the tagliarini and stir well to separate the strands.  Cook according to the manufacturer's directions until al dente.  Drain well.
  4. Return the tagliarini to it's cooking pot.  Add the sauce and mix well.  Cover and let stand for 1 minute.  Divide among 4 serving bowls and serve hot.


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