Friday, August 30, 2013

Easy Weeknight Dinner - Pasta with Tomatoes & Basil (Pasta Pomodoro e Basilico)

We all have those crazy weeknights, when what to make for dinner is the last thing on our minds! We have those quite often . . . you open the fridge, look in the pantry, walking around the kitchen until something jumps out at you. These kind of nights in our home usually end up with some kind of a pasta dish for dinner.

 We always have fresh tomatoes in the house, as well as diced canned tomatoes.  On this particular night, we had a pint of grape tomatoes that needed to be used up, as well as a bit of fresh mozzarella (so we threw that in at the end too!)

My husband got busy prepping the cheese and basil.

I cut up the grape tomatoes and garlic and started those cooking in the pan.  We added some canned diced tomatoes as well, as the grape tomatoes alone were not enough.  You can really use any tomatoes that you have on hand.

We added the basil and continued cooking the tomatoes, while waiting for the pasta water to boil.

Once the pasta water was boiling, I added the salt and pasta and cooked until slightly under-done.

When draining the pasta, reserve some of the starchy pasta water and add it to the sauce.  It will help your sauce stick to your pasta.

We like to add a bit of butter at the end, which gives it a rich, silky texture.

Then add the under-done pasta to the sauce, and finish the cooking of the pasta in the sauce, so the pasta can soak up all of those delicious flavors.

We added the mozzarella right on top along with some additional fresh basil, right before serving.  Not too bad for a quick weeknight meal!

Pasta with Tomatoes & Basil (Pasta Pomodoro e Basilico)

2 Tblsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pint of grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
1 Tblsp butter
1 Tblsp kosher salt
14 oz pasta
1/2 cup of pasta water
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  1. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and basil and cook for 10-12 minutes until grape tomatoes are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to a boil.  Add salt and return to a boil. Add pasta and cook until 1 minute less than package directions. (I like to taste test a strand to be sure it is slightly less than "al dente", or to the bite).
  3. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water.  Add the pasta water to the tomato mixture and stir.  Add the butter and mix well.
  4. Finally, add the pasta to the pan, and cook for an additional 2 minutes, allowing the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce.
  5. Serve with additional basil for garnish and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Buon Appetito!

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