Pasta With Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce
Tiny, plump cherry tomatoes burst from the heat and melt into the olive oil, becoming a chunky sauce flavored with basil and garlic. Chili pepper adds gentle heat, and a handful of pine nuts lends some texture. This burst cherry tomato sauce makes the perfect weeknight meal, as you can prepare it in 15 minutes.
Choose small, ripe cherry tomatoes. A variety of colors and textures is ideal, though a bowl of ordinary red cherry tomatoes would work as well. Add basil, garlic, and chili pepper to taste: I prefer to be generous with basil (and olive oil), shy with chili pepper, and moderate with garlic. Finish with some grated Parmigiano or pecorino for a rounder and more intensely flavored sauce.
- 2 pounds ripe cherry tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- 2 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Crushed red chili pepper flakes, to taste
- 12 ounces dry pasta
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano, or aged pecorino
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a saucepan, collect the cherry tomatoes, unpeeled garlic cloves, basil leaves, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, some crushed chili pepper, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, covered with a lid, for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the lid and crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
Let the sauce cook for 5 more minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Cook the pasta in a pot of salted water until al dente, according to the package instructions.
Drain the pasta and toss into the pan with the sauce. Sprinkle with grated cheese and add a few grinds of black pepper. Toss once more and serve.