Try cooking macaroni shepherd-style like risotto in one pan. Sauté the garlic and onion then add the macaroni. Stir regularly and continue to add the sauce and broth throughout the cooking time, something magic happens to the macaroni along the way.
Adapted from a recipe published in The New York Times by Alain Ducasse.
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium-sized onions, minced
2 tablespoons oregano
1 pound Italian pasta: penne, gemelli, or fusilli
1 quart slow-roasted tomatoes or 28 ounces of whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
2 cups of vegetable soup stock or water, warm
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
4 tablespoons butter (optional)
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano or 5 ounces goat cheese
With the stove set to medium-high, heat a 10-inch skillet. Add olive oil and warm. Place one
onion piece in the oil to test for the correct temperature. Add garlic, remaining onions and oregano when the onion piece sizzles. Cook stirring occasionally until golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the pasta and stir until well combined. Reduce heat to medium low. Add 1 cup of the warmed soup stock or water. Stir. Add two cups of the crushed tomatoes, stirring at each addition until
well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and continue to cook and stir like a risotto stirring every few minutes. Add the remaining stock or water and tomatoes, making sure to keep enough liquid in the pan.
Cook for 15 minutes, when the pasta is al dente. Take off the heat. The pasta will be cooked and coated with just enough sauce, richly concentrated, creamy and perfectly seasoned.
Fold in the basil, butter and cheese. Serve immediately.
Add 1 cup cooked pumpkin or squash.
Any dry Italian macaroni will work: Conchiglie Rigate, Farfalle, Fusilli Spirale or Penne.