Sunday, July 24, 2011

Angel Hair Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

One of my favorite recipes!

Found this recipe in a New York Times Magazine article (“Kitchen Voyeur”, Jonathan Reynolds, 9-5-05), and then in Barefoot Contessa at Home (Ina Garten, 2006) as “Summer Garden Pasta.”

This is best prepared in summer when local, organic tomatoes and basil are fresh and abundant. During the summer I make it once a week – no kidding! Because the tomatoes marinate for at least four hours, you can prepare it well ahead of time. It’s perfect for a mid-week family dinner, or dress it up with a salad and light dessert and you have a dinner party menu.

I use less garlic than both recipes mentioned above. In summer, when I can purchase an enormous, fragrant bunch of basil from a local farm stand, I use more basil and garnish with a big, beautiful sprig of it. The original recipes add cheese to the dish right before serving. I prefer to pass a bowl of freshly grated Parmesan cheese at the table.

For this recipe it helps to have the best quality ingredients. As a special treat, I like to have on hand a really good olive oil and a favorite sea salt for this dish. For fun, click here for a fantastic foodie resource for olive oils, sea salts and many other wonderful items.

Serves 6-8

4 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
A handful +/- of julienned basil leaves (reserve some for serving)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/4 lbs angel hair pasta
1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the table

Combine the cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for about 4 hours.

Before serving, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions being careful not to overcook it.

Drain but do not rinse the pasta, add it to the bowl with cherry tomatoes and toss.

Garnish each bowl of pasta with some of the reserved basil and serve immediately.

Pass a bowl of freshly grated Parmesan cheese at the table.