Sunday, 18 September 2011
Fresh Summer Garden Pasta
I made note of an Ina Garten pasta sauce recipe in my first blog entry and, while I linked directly to her Food Network recipe, I thought I would extrapolate and give my take on a cheap, easy, and VERY delicious pasta. Even for people who can't cook, you can make this and look like a champ!
While Ina Garten uses cherry tomatoes, and they are most certainly the best choice for this pasta hands down, regular tomatoes can also be used, but try to use the on the vine tomatoes, or tomatoes that are as fresh as possible. It really makes a difference with the flavour. Also, don't store the tomatoes in the fridge, it makes them have less taste. Instead, keep them in a bowl on the counter or in a cupboard uncovered. This goes for onions as well, storing them in the fridge makes them much less potent and they lose a lot of their flavour. Regular tomatoes on the vine cost much less than cherry tomatoes, so if you don't have access to them, or want to keep your meal even cheaper, regular tomatoes are fine here. Although do be sure that you treat yourself to the cherry tomato version sometime, just slice each one in half and use as I do with regular tomatoes in this recipe.
I was fortunate enough to be able to pick fresh basil and as many cherry tomatoes as were ripe from my mom's garden, which made for a very fresh tasting pasta sauce. Did I mention that this sauce is NO COOK, again, ridiculously easy. Because this recipe is no cook, do not try to substitute for dried basil, it will not taste good. Make this only when you can find the fresh stuff.
6 on the vine tomatoes diced (or 2 pints of halved cherry tomatoes)
1/3 cup olive oil
6 cloves of finely chopped garlic
A large bunch of basil (About 10 leaves, sliced)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 lb of dried pasta (use spaghetti, linguini, or angel hair - something long and thin)
1 cup of grated cheese (parmesan would work, so would any other hard cheese - even white cheddar would be good. Don't use orange cheddar, that just seems like an unnatural combination)
1 cup of cooked pasta water
Salt and pepper
In a large heatproof bowl, dice tomatoes, mince garlic, and slice basil. Add to the bowl. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, a large pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir the ingredients together and let them sit in the bowl on the counter at room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap. This recipe works best if you can let it sit for a couple of hours (4max), however, it is still tasty if you just prepare it and eat it right away, but give it about 10-15 min to sit so that the salt draws out some of the moisture in the tomatoes and the flavours can meld.
Cook the entire package of pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Before draining reserve about a cup of the water that it cooked in. Drain pasta and add noodles directly to the large bowl containing the tomato basil mixture and toss. Add in 1/2 cup of the pasta water and see if you need more to stretch the sauce at all. If so, use the full cup. Sprinkle in most of the cheese (reserve some for topping the individual bowls) and toss to melt.
When serving add the noodles to the bowls and then scoop out extra tomato basil mixture and some of the sauce and pour over noodles. Top with the leftover cheese.
This recipe is so fast and easy, you'll love it and it's quite easy on the wallet too.