Califonia Bountiful
Main Dish

Tomato pasta with gremolata

Sacramento chef Patrick Mulvaney is a fan of canned tomatoes "because there's so much variety in what you can get out of it." Here's a delicious example.

Chef Patrick Mulvaney
Mulvaney's B&L, Sacramento

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Pasta and sauce
12 oz. dry pasta, such as linguine or fettuccine (16 to 20 oz. if using fresh)
Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
12 whole canned tomatoes (reserve juice)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
Grated cheese, such as parmesan or Vella Dry Monterey Jack

2 cloves garlic
1 bunch parsley
Zest of 1 lemon, lime or orange


Put a pot of salted water on to boil for pasta. Using a big pot with lots of water is a good idea. Follow package instructions and cook to al dente. Gremolata can be done ahead of time; you will need about 5 minutes to make the sauce.

For gremolata, mince garlic cloves finely. We put salt on the cutting board to keep the garlic from sticking to the knife. Transfer to a bowl and finely chop parsley and add. With a microplane, grate just the colored part of 1 lemon into the mix. Stir and taste; adjust for salt or add more zest depending on your palate.  

For sauce, heat oil in a sauté pan. When it begins to shimmer, add onion, garlic and a touch of salt. Cook until soft and just browning. Add tomatoes and sauté on high. You want the tomatoes to brown a little to give the dish a richer flavor. Add corn (you can substitute green beans or broccoli rabe). Check for seasoning and turn off flame. Transfer pasta to pan, bringing along a bit of the pasta water. Add some grated cheese and stir. Check for seasoning: salt, pepper and cheese.

Plate pasta either individually or in a big family-style bowl. Sprinkle gremolata on top. Put tongs in it and serve with crusty bread.

Serves 4

Photo: © 2021 Manny Crisostomo

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