Pasta Pomodoro

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Serves 2

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-5 fresh, ripe roma tomatoes (ripeness is more important than freshness or type)
  • good handful of fresh basil leaves, torn or chiffonade
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • crushed red pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • block of parmesean or romano cheese
  • 1/4 lb dry vermicelli or cappelini

Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil.

(optional) Dunk the tomatoes into the water for 10 seconds, then remove with tongs to a bowl of ice water. The skins should crack and peel off easily.

Whether peeled or not, seed the tomatoes by crushing them in your hand over the sink and letting most of the seeds squirt out. give them a rough dice and remove them to a bowl.

Add the pasta to the boiling water.

Heat a nonreactive skillet (stainless or nonstick) over medium-high heat. add 2-3 tbsp olive oil.

Sweat the garlic and crushed red pepper in the oil for 3-5 min, being careful not to let it get crisp or brown. as soon as the garlic's about to get too hot, cool the pan down by chucking in the tomatoes.

Stir, still cooking over med-hi heat. Add basil, salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

About this time, the pasta should just be a hair shy of al dente. drain it and throw it into the skillet with the tomatoes. Toss the pasta with the tomatoes and cook one minute longer.

Serve immediately, with shaved cheese, and a drizzle of oil. garnish with a fresh basil top.