The beauty in Italian cooking is the simplicity in the dishes. This quick and easy pasta dish was a weeknight staple and takes as much time as it takes for pasta to cook. This dish utilizes sweet grape tomoatoes (cherry tomatoes work great here also!) blistered in hot olive oil, and then combined with spaghetti and finished off with some pasta water to create a silky sauce.
My mom prepared this frequently towards the end of the week, when we were due for food shopping. She often used chopped plum tomatoes but I find the sweetness of a grape or cherry tomato goes a long way here. Basil adds a beautiful flavor, but we rarely had basil in the house outside of the summer months, so my mom always used parsley and it’s a great substitute if you don’t have basil.
This is the perfect easy, comforting and quick weekday meal. I hope you enjoy this simple pasta dish. Buon appetito!
Spaghetti con Pomodorini | Pasta with Grape Tomatoes
- 1 lb spaghetti (or other long pasta)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Red Pepper Flakes to taste
- 4-6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 3 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 5-10 basil leaves
- 1/2 tsp salt + more for pasta water
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to boil to cook the pasta. Salt generously.
- When the water is boiling, add the pasta to the water to cook and begin the sauce. The pasta should cook for 3/4 the time stated on the box (for spaghetti: 6-9 minutes). Set a large pan over a medium flame. Add the olive oil and red pepper flakes and allow to heat for about a minute. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and salt with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or a large pinch). Allow them to cook down without disturbing for about 3-4 minutes. When you see a sauce start to form and the juices release from the tomatoes, take half the basil leaves, and tear them over the pan and toss to combine.
- At this point, the pasta should be ready to transfer to the pan. Using tongs, transfer the pasta over to the sauce and toss. Add 1 cup of pasta water to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the water to absorb into the pasta and sauce – this will allow the pasta to finish cooking. **Taste the pasta – if you would like a softer texture, add additional pasta sauce (1/2 cup at time) and allow the water to absorb.
- Plate and garnish with julienned basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese. zest, lemon slices and remaining parsley. Enjoy immediately.