The simplicity of fresh, chopped tomatoes, a little olive oil and your favorite pasta is something to be appreciated in its own right. But it’s also something that can be spruced up a bit with some other fresh flavors to really elevate it to a “wow” dish, without diminishing its lovely simple quality. I’m not going to write this out in typical recipe fashion – I’d rather this serve as inspiration for you to come up with your own perfect balance of flavors to spruce up a plain pasta dish!
Try starting out with about 12 oz of pasta (one of my top favorites happens to be this kind of fusilli):
and some sea salt, ground pepper and chili flakes (if you like a little heat- just a touch really complements and intensifies the other flavors in this dish) for seasoning. And of course some olive oil.
I got all of my ingredients prepped first – chopped the tomatoes:
and also finely chopped 3 small cloves of garlic and one small shallot, chopped the chives and basil roughly and sliced the lemon in half. Peter then plucked a jalapeno from our garden and chopped that up for an extra boost of flavorful heat to go in at the end:
A tablespoon of olive oil then went into a large pan heating over medium heat, and a minute later in went the garlic and shallots to saute until they began to soften. I then zested in a little more than half of the lemon and squeezed the juice of the full fruit into the pan as well. After a quick stir, I added the tomatoes to the mix, as well as a pinch or two of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. I gave it a stir every couple of minutes and let it cook over just under medium heat; after 8 minutes or so the tomatoes will be slightly broken down, softened and the sauce will thicken a bit as a result – it’s good to reduce the heat to low at this point:
Meanwhile, I had water heating to a boil for the pasta, which ultimately should cook to al dente doneness. Once the pasta was cooked and drained, I added the basil, chives, a few shakes of chili flakes to the sauce, stirred, and added the pasta to the sauce as well as a drizzle of olive oil (maybe one tablespoon):
And there you have it. Simple in its construction and ingredients, and light yet bursting with flavor. A wonderful summery pasta that certainly can be enjoyed year-round if tomatoes are good and fresh. Oh and what’s that light dusting on top of the pasta in the photo above? Not actual cheese – this is a vegan dish – stay tuned for more info 🙂