Another month, another challenge. This month’s MTChallenge Paola Sabino from the blog Fairies’ Kitchen challenged us with a “simple” tomato sauce pasta. Nothing more difficult than an “easy” dish. The challenge lies in being able to enhance the dish in all its components, first of all of course the tomato that should not be overwhelmed by other flavours and blend well with the pasta with its creamy texture. Another considerable detail is the degree of doneness of the pasta (it is known that overcooked pasta in addition to being sticky and unpleasant to taste is difficult to digest) for which Paola specifically requested a photograph that proves the perfect “al dente” cooking. Paola also called for a brief cooking of the sauce, even though not of its individual ingredients, and forbid us the use of onion. She tied our hands a little, something I particularly like when confronted with a challenge. More limitations and more the challenge gets interesting! For my dish I chose to stick to simplicity, but with the eccentric touch which distinguishes my cooking. To enhance the natural sweetness of tomatoes I used licorice powder and orange as pairings and added a bit of crunchiness with toasted bread. The result is very fresh, with notes of orange paving the way first to the tomato, blending with the licorice at the end of the bite. To make my life easier for the photograph of the doneness of the pasta I chose giant penne, although I personally recommend to pair this sauce with linguine.