Monday, September 13, 2010

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Herbs and Parmesan

Have you ever had one of those Saturdays where you had plenty to do, but decided early on nothing was gonna get done? That was me last Saturday. After a busy week, I didn’t want to spend a fortune at a restaurant or the grocery store for dinner. I needed something I could make with what I already had on hand but would still be delicious. Now, you don’t need one more person telling how important a well-stocked pantry is. However, a well-stocked pantry along with a garden with some of my favorite veggies and herbs saved me from shelling out major dollars and, for that matter, changing out of my jammies.

This dish has the classic pairing of fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil and cheese, but the residual heat from the pasta gives the tomatoes’ acidity an extra punch when you bite into them. Make sure they’re balanced well with the richness of butter and oil, and, of course, the more cheese the better.

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Herbs and Parmesan

½ lb. pasta of choice (I used whole wheat linguine)
15-20 cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of basil
2 sprigs oregano
1 ½ cups grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil
2 tbl. butter
Salt and pepper

Boil pasta in salted water according to packaged instructions. In the meantime, slice the bigger cherry tomatoes in half and leave the smaller ones whole. Sprinkle them with salt and leave them to drain in a colander. Pick the leaves of basil and oregano and chop.

When the pasta is al dente, reserve some of the pasta water and drain. Transfer the pasta back to the pot and add the herbs, butter and a few cracks of black pepper.  Stir gently so as not to break up the pasta. Add some reserved pasta water to keep the pasta moist, but only a little at a time so it doesn't get water-logged. Add the cheese and stir until melted.

Transfer to plates and drizzle with olive oil. Top with more cheese and a few whole leaves of basil and serve.

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