Summer pasta made easy

A few weekends ago, somewhere between meeting with someone about a bridal shower I’m helping to host and going with said bride for dress fittings, I happened to catch an episode of “The Barefoot Contessa.” Now, I’m not a regular viewer of this show, but I do watch it from time to time. And I’m completely and totally in love with Ina’s kitchen and somehow her voice just kind of puts me at peace. When I do watch an episode, everything she makes always looks so amazing—which means I then get hungry and have to go eat something.

But I digress.

I started paying attention to this episode because Ina and her friend were making salted caramel ice cream. I had just had salted caramel ice cream a few weeks before at a brand new and amazing ice creamery in Nashville called Jeni’s, and was therefore interested to find out how it was probably made. (Too much work for me.)

THEN, Ina started making this pasta. It was beautiful. Simple-sounding. And full of summery goodness. So I just had to try it. This past Saturday, I got my chance.

It. Was. Amazing!

And it sort of revived my love for sharing recipes with you, so here we go.

First off, ingredients:

4 pints cherry tomatoes (this is what Ina’s recipe called for. I used two pints of grape tomatoes and one larger tomato I grew in a pot on my patio. Worked great.)
1/2 olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic (which apparently is akin to something like 6 cloves. I personally thought this was a little much and I like garlic. . . )
18 large fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (the recipe says julienned, but the way to get basil julienned is to cut them chiffonade style. Look it up.)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Pasta of your choice (I used angel hair.)
Shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Step 1: Wash and quarter (or chop into small pieces) the tomatoes. Throw them into a bowl. Combine them with the olive oil, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Stir well. The salt is going to help things break down, so really get it in there.
Pasta is happening later!

Step 2: Cover the bowl of tomato-y goodness with saran wrap or a lid, set it on the counter or kitchen table and walk away. Yep. Walk away. For four hours. Go read a book, clean your house, or watch mindless hours of TV. (If you do the TV thing, I once again suggest the show I’m mildly obsessed with right now: “Covert Affairs.”)

Step 3: About 4 hours later, the tomatoes should have broken down some and the mixture is starting to get a bit soupy. And if you pull back the saran wrap and sniff, it’s going to smell wonderful! Now it’s time to make this meal happen. Boil your pasta of choice until al dente. Then, drain it, using a colander, but don’t rinse it. It needs to stay hot.

Step 4: Add the hot pasta to the bowl with the tomatoes. Stir to combine. Add freshly grated or shredded Parmesan and stir well.

Step 5: Serve. Eat. Sigh. It’s just about the world’s easiest pasta and one of the yummiest. If you’re in the mood for something light, tasty, and full of the flavors of the garden, this is it!

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