Monday, April 20, 2009

Pasta with Greek Cinnamon-Tomato Sauce

It was abnormally hot in Southern California today, and unfortunately most of the recipes I had chosen for this week were of the slaving-over-a-hot-stove variety. Needless to say, they didn't sound too appealing. Then I remembered a recipe I've been meaning to make, in fact, meant to make last week, but had abandoned for no apparent reason. And while it still involved a hot stove, it involved virtually no slaving. It was easy, quick, and incredibly rewarding.

This is not your typical pasta-with-tomato-sauce, folks. This one is filled with bold spices that make you think of the Greek Isles, even if you've never been (as I haven't, sadly). The cinnamon pops out at you, and the oregano serves as a lovely mellow backdrop for it. The garlic and red pepper flakes create a gentle hum of spice in the back of your mouth. And if you opt to include the goat cheese, there is a whole extra layer of creamy deliciousness in each bite.

And an ingredient note - I highly recommend using tomato paste in a tube. It just makes way more sense. Whoever invented it, I salute you.

So no matter how hot it is, just suffer for a few minutes in the kitchen to make this dish. Or if you live near the coast like we do, open the window and let in the ocean breeze to cool you off, and imagine you are, in fact, on those Greek Isles. Sigh...

Pasta with Greek Cinnamon-Tomato Sauce
adapted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper
serves 3+


2 tablespoons EVOO
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine
one 14.5 oz. can no salt added diced tomatoes (w/ juice)
1/2 lb. short hollow whole wheat pasta (elbows, cavatappi, penne)
2 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled (optional)


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. While the pot is warming up, coat the bottom of a straight-sided saute pan with the EVOO and heat over medium-high heat. Add onions, parsley, and generous amount of salt and pepper. Saute the onions until they are just turning golden brown. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine and cook for another minute.

3. Add the diced tomatoes and juices, and smush them with a potato masher or similar implement. Raise heat to medium high and cook the sauce for 8 minutes, or until thickened. Turn off heat and cover the pan.

4. Cook pasta until just al dente, according to package directions. Drain and add the pasta to the sauce over medium-high heat. Toss to incorporate with the sauce, and cook for a minute or so to let the sauce permeate the noodles. Serve with goat cheese, if using, and stir in to melt.

Absolutely delicious, and yet another way to keep pasta interesting. Enjoy!


  1. Perfect, even for those not lucky enough to have ocean breezes to blow in through the windows. Thanks :-)