Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pasta pomodori

Most of you already know that I prefer (and encourage others) to eat local and seasonal produce as much as possible. It's good for your body and the earth, and if that's not enough of a reason, it tastes a million times better! Friends who dine with us often remark at how I use such simple ingredients but my food is always packed with so much flavor and is surprisingly healthy. My response is always the same, use fresh high quality ingredients (preferably organic) that actually taste good so then you have to use less fat, less salt, and less sugar to add flavor to bland veggies.

I think tomatoes are the poster child of eating seasonally. In the summer months, tomatoes are juicy, earthy, and sweet and (gasp) actually taste like a tomato. I remember picking cherry tomatoes from our garden as a child and popping as many as I could into my mouth. This simple pasta is a beautiful way to use summer cherry tomatoes and captures the essence of summer. I love the idea of crushing the tomatoes before lightly cooking them. The garlic and basil add a fresh summer taste and the snowy mountain of parmesan complete the dish.

Pasta Pomodorini (Michael Chiarello)
1/2 lb spaghetti
1 pint cherry tomatoes
5-6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
12-15 basil leaves, torn into 2 to 3 pieces (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
sea salt
parmesan, finely grated
good olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt, and cook pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, remove stems from cherry tomatoes and in a large bowl, crush each tomato between thumb and index finger. Be careful, as the juice will splatter!

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic slices and fry until brown and crisp. Add red chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and increase heat to high. Stir and cook until sauce thickens, about 3-5 min. Add basil and season with salt and ground pepper.

Once pasta is just shy of al dente, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Away from the hot stove, return the pasta to the pot and add the sauce, mixing well. Add reserved water 2 tbsp at a time, as needed. Transfer to serving bowl. Top with freshly grated parmesan and drizzle with good olive oil. Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. A dish that in general can't go wrong. But as you so aptly point out, with in-season, organic, minimally traveled tomatoes it becomes utterly stellar.


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