Bucatini allo Scarpariello or “Shoemakers” pasta was one of our favorite dishes at the Mezzatore Hotel in Ischia. We’ve been craving it all summer. It’s a simple pasta in a cheesy cherry tomato sauce.
Thankfully, they sent us the recipe from Chef Giuseppe D’Abundo so we could curb our craving and make it at home. We’re always impressed by how some of the most simple Italian dishes can be the most satisfying, and this was no exception.
To give you some background, this cheesy pasta sauce originated in Naples, and was a way to use the extra tomato sauce from a traditional Neapolitan ragu. Once they ate the meat from the Sunday ragu, resourceful home cooks would add copious amounts of cheese to bulk up the remaining tomato sauce.
This is an easy way to use a lot of cherry tomatoes this summer. You can also use spaghetti, but we recommend using bucatini. It’s thicker with a hollow center, good for picking up more of the cheesy sauce. You can learn more about pairing pasta shapes and sauces with the book The Geometry of Pasta.
We’ve run into the one unfortunate part of making this at home. The cheese is awful to clean up after it’s cooled, so we recommend cleaning your pan right away while it’s still hot and melted.
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Bucatini allo Scarpariello
- 380 g bucatini pasta
- 800 g cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh basil
- 300 g Parmesan cheese, grated
- Boil a pot of well-salted water (so it tastes like the ocean).
- Meanwhile, heat a pan with enough oil to cover the bottom (about ¼ cup), add the crushed garlic clove cook until golden brown. Remove and discard the garlic when it’s brown.
- Add the tomatoes and add ladleful of heated salted water.
- Let the tomatoes cook slowly, crushing them with the help of a kitchen spoon to make the sauce creamy; when they are well cooked, put them aside.
- Cook the bucatini until “al dente.” Keep a ladle of pasta water in case you need to add some to the sauce. Drain and add the pasta to the sauce, stir in the cheese, and cook for the remaining time and until it’s creamy.
- Before serving, top with add extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese and garnish with a freshly cut basil leaf.