Listen, before I had kids, I was dead set that my attitude toward feeding them would absolutely be: “If you don’t eat what I put in front of you, you WILL be going to bed hungry!” Fast-forward to that attitude definitely not f*cking working, and I’ve done everything possible to get my kids to eat what I make, short of shaving my head and gluing macaroni onto it.
Luna is extremely against things touching things or things in things, as any reasonably psychotic toddler is, so instead of rattling her world with some sort of chicken alfredo or basil marinara, we decided to go for a perfectly uniform, smooth sauce that is still delightfully tasty while being different enough from the jarred pasta sauce we so desperately want to grab for sheer ease. Caramelizing the tomato paste is the move that gives it extra sweetness, a secret dash of fish sauce bumps up the umami, the cream rounds out the acidity of the tomatoes, and the sauce magically finds this way of sticking to every part of the pasta you choose, whether it be fusilli, bucatini (my favorite), penne, or spaghetti. It is THE perfect sauce: easy to double or triple for storing in the freezer, ready to go whenever desired. If you must adult it, go ahead and add some dried Italian seasoning, sprinkle on some red pepper flakes, slip in some browned sausage—but then feed to your Luna at your own risk.
Reprinted from Cravings: All Together. Copyright © 2021 by Christine Diane Teigen. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Alex Lau. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (26-ounce) container strained tomatoes, such as Pomi
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 teaspoon fish sauce (or 1 more teaspoon kosher salt)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
²⁄3 cup heavy cream
1 (1-pound) box fusilli pasta
½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
+ Fresh basil, for garnish
Creamy-creamy sauce, strands of ham, and perfectly cooked pasta.
You’re only 15 minutes away from cheesy greatness.
It requires a bit of an upper-arm workout, but the end result is so worth it.