Penne al Pomodoro
PASTA WITH FRESH CHERRY TOMATO AND BASIL SAUCE
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 large sprigs of basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta water
- 1⁄2 pound penne rigate
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish
- Place a medium pan over medium heat and let it get hot for a few minutes.
- Add the olive oil, the garlic, and the red pepper flakes, in that order.
- Let the garlic infuse its flavor into the olive oil. Watch the bubbles. Don’t let the garlic burn.
- Once the garlic has just taken on a slightly golden color, add the tomatoes and stir. Throw in the basil, stems and all. Add salt and stir. Let the tomatoes cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- When soft enough, smush the tomatoes down with a fork or with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste the sauce. If you want more flavor, add more salt.
- Once you can swipe your spoon across the bottom of the pan and it “parts like the Red Sea” for a moment before oozing its way back to the center, you are done. If you want it to be a little thicker, cook for a few minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Throw in a handful of kosher salt, followed by the pasta. Stir, and cook al dente.
- When the pasta is nearly done, turn the heat under the sauce to medium high, a fuoco vivace, a lively flame.
- Drain and add the pasta to the sauce. Toss until all the noodles are coated in the sauce.
- Serve and top with the grated Parmigiano.
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