In California, summer is trying to get a foothold and the tomatoes are in the ground and looking towards a July harvest. And thinking about a bountiful harvest, here’s a recipe that can use all those cherry tomatoes we’ve planted.
This is a ridiculously simple recipe and as with most Italian cooking, it’s all about the fresh ingredients. Find the best olive oil, the best cherry tomatoes, the best basil, the best oregano and the best Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. This recipe takes 10 minutes total to make. You cook the pasta and the sauce at the same time.
Recipe for 4.
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic – minced
- ¼ teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
- 1 pound (around 1 pint) red cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup loosely packed basil chiffonade 1
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste
Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the spaghetti for one minute less than the package directions say.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet with a lid over low heat, combine the olive oil, minced garlic and red chili pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic starts to give off its aroma and lightly toasts; about 2 minutes. If you burn the garlic, start again. Burnt garlic gives off an awful taste.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes and salt. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until the oil becomes somewhat thickened with the tomatoes. Don’t smash the tomatoes.
Lower the heat to simmer and add about ¼ of the basil and cook for about 4-6 minutes. The basil will wilt.
When the pasta is cooked to one (1) minute less than the package directions, add the remaining basil and the oregano to the tomato mixture. Drain and add the pasta to the mixture. Gently stir with a wooden spoon for another minute to combine all ingredients.