There are so many things to love about this sauce recipe.
Make ahead and take along. Because this pasta can be served at room temperature, that makes it a great choice to take to potlucks, picnics, and parties. I recently made an Italian lunch for my sons' company, Less Annoying CRM, pictured below. This pasta along with my Antipasto Platters were a great combo for a make-ahead meal...and a big hit with this group of hungry workers.
Inspired by Ina Garten
She's one of my favorite celebrity chefs. Her recipes are simple, delicious, thoroughly tested, and use real, whole food and accessible ingredients. I own most of Ina's cookbooks. This fresh pasta sauce is inspired by Ina's Summer Garden Pasta from her cookbook, Barefoot Contessa at Home. I've also seen her demonstrate this on television. So, thanks Ina. This one's a real winner!
Check out this short video that shows you how easy this is to make:
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients.
Here's what you need to make the sauce:
You'll also need:
Step 2. Slice each tomato in half. The fastest and easiest way to cut a bunch of them at once is to sandwich them between two rimmed, flat plastic lids as pictured below. You can cut a pint of cherry tomatoes in under a minute. Read more details about this timesaving technique in my post: Easy Way To Cut Cherry Tomatoes.
You can use all red cherry/grape tomatoes, or any combination of red, yellow, orange, purple....whatever is available and to your liking. I like to include some Sungolds when they are in season.
Step 3. Mince the garlic. Use a knife, garlic press, Microplane, or a mini food processor. I keep this chopper handy on my counter, because I use it so often. If I need to mince several garlic cloves, I let this little machine do the work in just a few pulses.
Step 4. Chiffonade the basil. This is a specific way of cutting basil (and other large leafy herbs like mint) resulting in thin shreds. Make sure you use a sharp knife. Stack 3 or 4 basil leaves and roll them up like a cigar. Cut in thin slices, separate and fluff the cut rounds. TIP: Don't cut the basil in advance--cut it right before you use it. That's because once the cut edges are exposed to air, the basil will begin to darken.
Step 5. In a large bowl, combine the sauce ingredients: olive oil, peppers, garlic, salt, and basil. Then stir in the cut tomatoes. Cover and leave out at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours.
view on Amazon: mixing bowls (a nesting 10 piece set that I use every day)
The sauce mixture macerates as it rests. That means the salt and olive oil draw the juices out of the tomatoes. I'm always surprised how much liquid is in the bottom of the bowl after the mixture has rested for a few hours; that's how the sauce is magically created. Also, the flavors develop and improve and the garlic mellows as it sits. It tastes amazing with no cooking at all.
Step 6. Shortly before it's time to eat, boil & drain the pasta according to the package directions. I prefer angel hair pasta with this sauce, because it is thin and delicate and easily absorbs the sauce flavor. And, it cooks in just 4 minutes, adding to the ease and quickness of making this dish. But, feel free to use whatever pasta you prefer or have on hand.
Step 7. In a large, shallow serving bowl, add the cooked pasta, then the tomato sauce mixture, then the Parmesan cheese. Use tongs to gently toss it until it's combined. The tomatoes have a tendency to settle in the bottom, so you may need to scoop some of them from underneath and distribute them on top of the pasta.
Step 8. Chiffonade 3-4 additional basil leaves and scatter them on top of the pasta. Garnish the bowl with additional basil leaves, if you like. Dinner is served! Have extra grated Parmesan available for sprinkling more on top of individual servings.
Any temp will do. This can be a main or side dish and served warm, cold, or at room temperature. I normally serve mine at room temperature; that way I don't have to stress about keeping it warm, and it tastes fabulous!
Great to take along. Since this can be served at room temperature, it's a perfect dish to take along to share at potlucks, picnics or parties. This plastic bowl comes with a cover (it's actually a pie carrier), and is the perfect size to hold a full batch of this pasta recipe. I used it for toting and serving this pasta at the Less Annoying CRM luncheon pictured at the beginning of this post.
view on Amazon: covered plastic serving bowl with cover (aka pie server)
Add-ins. Although I prefer the simplicity of the ingredients in this recipe, you can customize it with optional additions like toasted pine nuts, olives, or whatever suits your fancy.
This pasta dish tastes just as good, if not better, the next day. The recipe makes a generous amount, so we always look forward to leftovers.
Make it a Yummy day!
For a 2-cup serving:
11 Weight Watchers SmartPoints per 2-cup serving
HERE'S A FUN GIFT to bundle for a wedding, birthday, housewarming....or YOU! A pasta serving bowl, individual pasta bowls, and pasta tongs. These three items work just as well for salads. Here are the Amazon links: