Nigella Lawson’s Favorite Pastas #2: Pasta au Gratin

Pasta au Gratin
Time: 30 minutes

Salt
Butter for greasing baking dish
4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 3/8 cups (14 ounces) diced canned tomatoes
4 ounces small macaroni or other short pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup fresh soft breadcrumbs.

1. Place a baking sheet in oven, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Butter a gratin dish 8 by 6 by 1 3/8 inches deep, and set aside.

2. Place a deep skillet over medium heat, and sauté bacon until it begins to release its fat. Add onion, and sauté until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add pepper flakes, tomatoes (with their liquid) and 1/4 cup water. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

3. While tomato mixture simmers, add macaroni to boiling water, and cook until tender with a bit of a bite. Meanwhile place a small skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic and sauté until garlic begins to color. Add breadcrumbs and stir until they have absorbed oil and are golden.

4. Drain cooked macaroni and add it to tomato sauce. Pour mixture into buttered gratin dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top, and place on baking sheet in oven. Bake until sauce bubbles and top of gratin is browned, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Yield: 1 to 2 servings.

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