Orecchiette with Calabrian Chili Sauce, Parmesan, Mint, and Basil

Calabrian chiles are the mature version of pepperoncini, with a spicy fruity flavor. You can buy them marinated or as paste or powder. Adding them to tomatoes makes for a zesty sauce.

6 pounds Barilla Collezione Orecchiette
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons Calabrian chili paste
10 1/2 pounds canned San Marzano tomatoes
6 pints yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper
3 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
6 tablespoons chiffonade fresh mint
6 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil
  1. Cook the Barilla pasta for half the time indicated on the package. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. Alternatively, cool it down in a walk-in cooler. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.
  2. In a pot, heat the oil and saute the garlic and chili paste for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the San Marzano and cherry tomatoes and 6 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes break down and make a good sauce consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

For each serving, to order:

  1. Reheat 1 1/2 cups pasta in simmering water. Drain and add to a pan with some of the tomato sauce.
  2. Thin with pasta cooking water, as needed. Heat through and plate.
  3. Garnish with 2 tablespoons Parmesan and some mint and basil.