Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mellowed Fresh Tomatoes for Pasta

I subscribe to Weeknight Kitchen, a weekly e-newsletter from The Splendid Table. I was planning on just making spaghetti tonight - and today's recipe was for pasta and fresh tomatoes, which was perfect! I had a few homegrown tomatoes that I needed to use today, which were great. Local tomatoes are so much better than store bought. I also have a basil plant at home and just plucked off a few leaves for the dish. This was easy and delicious. It was a nice departure from the usual spaghetti and Walmart pasta sauce combo. It actually made spaghetti feel fancy!

I picked up a couple of boxes of Barilla Plus spaghetti for this - it is a new multigrain pasta which was actually pretty good. I've tried whole wheat spaghetti and didn't like the texture, so this was a nice alternative that is a little more healthy than plain old spaghetti.

Mellowed Fresh Tomatoes for Pasta
Copyright 2007 Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Serves 6 to 8 as a first course, 4 to 6 as a main dish

* 1 clove garlic, split
* 3 pounds richly flavored tomatoes (if possible, one-third cherry type, one-third mellow-tasting, and one-third low-acid), unpeeled, unseeded, cut into 1/2-inch dice
* 2 generous pinches hot red pepper flakes
* 1/3 cup good tasting extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
* 1 pound spaghetti, or linguine
* 6 quarts boiling salted water
* 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, or to taste
* 3 tight-packed tablespoons fresh basil leaves, torn
* 1 cup fresh-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)

1. Vigorously rub a pasta serving bowl with the garlic and discard the clove. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, oil, and the salt. Gently combine. Let stand at room temperature from 30 minutes to 3 hours.

2. When ready to eat, cook the pasta in fiercely boiling salted water, stirring often, until tender yet firm to the bite. Drain in a colander and turn it into the pasta bowl. Quickly add the black pepper and basil, and toss everything together. Taste the pasta for seasoning and serve. If you like, pass cheese at the table

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