Saturday afternoon pasta

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December 19, 2007

Serves 4

4 sprigs fresh basil, leaves and stalks separated

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for sprinkling

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 fresh red chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cans (16 ounces each) imported plum tomatoes

2 cans (7- to 8-ounces each) tuna in olive oil, drained and flaked

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 pound rigatoni or penne

Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1. Chop the basil stalks. Tear the leaves roughly.

2. In a large skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook the onion, chili pepper, cinnamon, and basil stalks on medium-low heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the onion softens.

3. Turn up the heat, add the tomatoes, tuna, and salt. Break the tomatoes with the back of a spoon, Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. In a large pot of salted water, cook the rigatoni or penne according to package directions. Dip a heatproof measuring cup into the water and remove 1/2 cup. When the pasta is tender but still has some bite, drain the pasta into a colander.

5. Tip the pasta into the tomato mixture. Add the basil leaves, a sprinkle of oil, the lemon rind and juice, and 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Toss gently. Add more water, salt, pepper, or lemon juice, if you like. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Adapted from "Cook with Jamie"

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