Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pasta Ala Easy

It's summer, and my garden has exploded.  It's what makes this part of the year so wonderful, the fresh produce and simplicity of the food I can make with it.  This previous weekend I did not plan for dinner.  It's these times that I enjoy much more than my wife.  While I think "oh man, I can make something really unique and fresh" and Emily thinks "what kind of Chinese should we get?"

Well, thankfully it's the summer, and my garden has been producing well.  Rather than opt for something complicated, I chose to create a fresh tomato and basil pasta, something the Italians call "pasta cruda".  Tomatoes, garlic, and basil tossed with a few other ingredients make a delicious and simple sauce.  You should easily be able to make everything you need for the sauce in the time it takes the pasta to cook.  And my wife never once mentioned anything about Chinese.

Easy Tomato Pasta

1 pound penne, rigatoni, or other tube pasta
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese

Salt a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  Boil pasta as directed, reserving 1 cup pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and oil to a large bowl with remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Add red pepper flake, salt, pepper, basil, cheese, and tomatoes to bowl.  Drain pasta, add to bowl, and toss to combine.  Add a little bit of water as needed to loosen sauce.  Serve warm.