Quick and easy recipe: Tomato sauce and pasta

I’m not a recipe follower when it comes to cooking. Really, the only recipe I use is for bread making (Tartine bread) and hesitantly (the only hesitation being having to use a recipe… his recipe is amazing) use the recipe because I can consider it baking not cooking…

I’m only sort of kidding. I really don’t like to use recipes because I enjoy the adventure of envisioning flavours in my mind and trying to replicate what’s in my mind’s mouth. Sometimes it works (Alison can attest) and sometimes I’m unsuccessful (Alison detests).

So when I craved a bowl of light and fresh pasta I intended on keeping it as simple as possible:

Tomatoes
Garlic
Basil
Salt
Noodles

Now, I’m sure I’ve had this numerous times in my life but I’m happy that I’ve managed to replicate it to my taste. Apparently it’s called Pomodoro and it’s delicious. I’ve looked a bit at recipes for it and it’s seems to vary pretty widely between individual recipes, but the essentials are always there. Variety of tomatoes, amount of garlic, sea or kosher salt? Whatever you prefer, it’ll turn out well because it’s dead simple to make.

I like to sautee my garlic in olive oil on medium heat to soften it up a bit and then add my tomatoes. Here’s my timing regime:

1. Put pot of salty water on heat for noodles
2. Dice tomatoes, chop garlic, and chiffonade basil
3. Heat medium-sized saucepan on medium heat and add olive oil (you could probably put this on when you’re about 1/2 or 3/4 done chopping depending on how quick you are)
4. Add noodles to water
5. Add garlic and soften for about a minute, you don’t want it to brown
6. Add tomatoes – stir occasionally (same with noodles to prevent them from sticking. I find the first minute or so to be the most important to keep them moving)
7. Cook sauce until noodles are done, I don’t know how long… until they’re cooked! (Alison hates when I say that!) about 7-8 minutes? Salt to taste, don’t burn your tongue.
8. Turn heat off sauce and leave on burner while you strain noodles and oil them. I like to add a bit of olive oil to the noodles after they’re strained and back in the pot. It keeps them mobile and well, I like the flavour of olive oil.
9. Add about 3/4 of the basil to the sauce and stir in.
10. Plate your noodles, spoon your sauce and garnish with remaining basil. Salt if you need to.

Some recipes say to go with tomatoes first and then add garlic which I assume is to keep the wonderful acidity of fresh garlic, so do as you prefer! Because the recipe is so simple, it’s very important to use fresh and local ingredients if possible. Takes about 30 minutes start to finish.

You’ll probably notice I didn’t include any measurements. That’s because I don’t really know. I used 1 medium sized tomato and 3-4 smaller ones, 4 cloves of garlic and maybe about a 1/2 cup of basil. Served two. Try it and judge for yourself!

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