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Pasta with Pine Nuts, Raisins and Tomatoes
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11/4 cups raisins
1 pound penne rigate
9 tablespoons olive oil
8 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes (approximately
41/2 tablespoons chopped
41/2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
11/2 tablespoons chopped
Grated zest of one lemon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons Italian-style bread crumbs, toasted
(See Chef's Tip.)
5 tablespoons freshly grated Romano cheese
Soak the raisins in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Drain and discard the water; set the raisins aside.
Cook the pasta in boiling water according to the directions on the package until al dente.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until sizzling, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, raisins and pine nuts. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, parsley, basil, mint, lemon zest, salt and pepper, then cook for 3 more minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Cook until the pasta is coated with the sauce, about 2 to 3 minutes. Toss the
pasta in the pan with the bread crumbs. Turn off the heat. Add the cheese and stir well.
To make toasted bread crumbs, heat a nonstick pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the bread crumbs, reduce the heat to low, and stir well for 1 to 2 minutes, until the bread crumbs start to brown. Pour the bread crumbs onto a plate to cool off until ready to use.
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