I have had an abundance of baby bush tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and baby roma tomatoes gifted to me by my Nanny. I would have my own abundance if I had paid more tender loving care and attention to my garden .. but the sun and I have a love~hate relationship and she wants to incinerate me and my plants every time I walk outside to admire her light. Anyways, I had at least 4 – 5 decent punnets of a good variety of tomatoes, that weren’t being utilised efficiently and were becoming lost within the abyss of my vegetable crisper drawer. Best way to use bulk ? Sauce .. jam .. chutney .. preserves – however on this particular day, it was too hot, and I was too hungover, and I needed comfort foods .. STAT!
Pasta is a massive comfort food for me. I love all types of pasta, I love the variety of shapes and textures, and the variety of sauces, stir-thru and flavour possibilities. I became to have a new relationship with pasta when I worked in a beautiful Italian restaurant in James St, Brisbane – with some pretty amazing chefs, with some of the most beautiful freshest and unique produce I had ever seen and had the privilege of cooking with. I also developed a new passion for anything and everything Italian when I met my bestfriends partner (soon-to-be-husband) showed me how to make real pasta from scratch, with the most decadent Ragu sauce you have ever laid your eyes on #rispettoitaliana
So, on a hot day, (hungover) and in need of a quick and easy meal to feed the boys and comfort me .. pasta was an all out winner, and I reckon this took no longer than 15min. I’ve found some of the best pastas I have ever eaten have been simple, easy, and with classic fresh ingredients – enter tomatoes, australian garlic and fresh basil. Boom .. here we go people.
Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta
– serves 4.
– 3-4 punnets of ripe baby cherry tomatoes – could totally be a mixed variety of different colours and textures — if tomatoes are large maybe only use 2-2 1/2 punnets and increase cooking time.
– 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
– 3-4 medium sized garlic cloves, sliced finely (this is pretty important, and i’ll explain why slicing it is important later ;))
– a nice handful of fresh basil
– 1 packet of linguine, spaghetti, angel hair, vermicelli – thin pasta is best !
– sea salt and freshly ground pepper
– ground chilli flakes .. totally optional
– butter – also totally optional .. and cheeky
– parmesan reggiano
1. Chuck a big pot of water onto boil with a decent amount of salt.
2. In a cold, wide based pan with sides, add the oil and sliced garlic – it’s important that it’s sliced instead of ground because it runs the risk of burning and caramelising – you want the oil to achieve an infused flavour similar to that of confit garlic 😉 .. but if you wanna caramelize your garlic, go right ahead, there are no rules for cooking. Allow your garlic to infuse in your moderately warm oil until beautifully soft – making sure to watch and control the temperature as needed.
3. After about 8-10minutes turn up the heat to medium-high and chuck in your tomatoes + good pinch of salt. Allow the olive oil and garlic to encapsulate the tomatoes, encouraging them to burst allowing their juice to come out, which creates the sauce. Stir every 2-3 minutes allowing the mixture to become homogenous, rich and glossy.
4. Once your water has boiled, throw your pasta in and cook until just al dente.
5. Remove your pasta with tongs or pasta utensil straight into the sauce, allowing some of the pasta water to enrich your sauce – this will allow the sauce to thicken and cling to your pasta.
6. Add a knob of butter (if you like) and using tongs and a ‘swishing’ motion with the pan, allow the sauce to envelop the pasta. Season with salt, pepper, a small ripped handful of fresh basil and a little bit of grated parmesan reggiano, stir to combine and serve immediately.
7. Serve garnished with freshly ground pepper, extra fresh basil, chilli flakes (if desired) and plenty more parmesan.