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Tomato and Basil Pasta

Tomato and Basil Pasta

Tomato and Basil Pasta is a celebration of simplicity and freshness, drawing inspiration from the classic Italian cuisine where tomato and basil are staple ingredients. The marriage of tangy tomatoes and aromatic basil in this pasta dish offers a timeless flavor that's both comforting and sophisticated. It's a testament to how a few quality ingredients can create a meal that's as visually appealing as it is delicious.

Tomato and Basil Pasta Preparation Time and Servings: 

  • Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooks in 30 minutes

  • Serves 4

Ingredients List:

  • 400g (14 oz) dried pasta, such as spaghetti or fettuccine

  • 800g (28 oz) ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 1 large bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped, some whole leaves reserved for garnish

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 100g (3.5 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated

  • 60ml (4 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Optional: Red pepper flakes, to taste

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Ingredients: Start by boiling a large pot of salted water for the pasta. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes, mince the garlic, and grate the Parmesan cheese.

  2. Cook the Pasta: Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta and set aside.

  3. Sauté the Garlic: While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic (and red pepper flakes, if using) and sauté for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.

  4. Add Tomatoes: Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to soften and release their juices.

  5. Combine Pasta and Sauce: Add the drained pasta to the tomato mixture. Toss well to combine, adding a bit of reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce. Cook together for 2-3 minutes, allowing the pasta to absorb the flavours.

  6. Final Touches: Remove from heat, add the chopped basil, and half of the grated Parmesan. Toss everything together until well mixed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Serve: Divide the pasta among four bowls. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and garnish with whole basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Suggested Side Dish: 

  • A simple green salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Equipment Needed:

  • Large pot for boiling pasta

  • Colander for draining pasta

  • Large frying pan or skillet

  • Cooking utensils (knife, chopping board, wooden spoon)

Common Mistakes/Points of Care:

  • Not salting the pasta water enough. The water should taste like seawater to flavour the pasta.

  • Overcooking the pasta. It should be al dente, with a slight bite to it.

  • Overcooking the garlic, which can lead to bitterness. Once fragrant, other ingredients should be added immediately, or the pan removed from the heat to prevent the garlic from burning.

Nutritional Values: (approximation per serving)

  • Calories: 600

  • Protein: 22g

  • Carbohydrates: 90g

  • Fat: 20g

  • Saturated Fat: 6g

  • Sodium: 400mg

  • Fiber: 5g

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