For me, a good weeknight dinner must possess two essential qualities:
- It must be relatively quick and easy to prepare.
- It has to be tasty enough to make me actually want to cook after a hard day at work. It’s much easier to get motivated if, as the work day ends, I am eagerly anticipating dinner.
My favorite weeknight pasta dish, Pasta with Grape Tomatoes, satisfies both of those requirements perfectly. I have been making this dish so regularly lately that every time I am in the supermarket I pick up a pint of grape tomatoes knowing that I will be using them in the near future. My wife, Sandy, likes capellini and I like spaghetti, so the spaghettini became our little compromise. But, you can actually use any pasta you prefer or happen to have on hand.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves sliced thin
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt to taste
- 1 pound spaghettini pasta
- 2 large basil leaves, torn into pieces by hand
- Add olive oil and garlic to a large sautè pan over medium heat. Cook until garlic is lightly browned, then add the sliced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and salt.
- Saute the tomatoes until they are softened and have started to release their juices, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of liberally salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente.
- Strain pasta and transfer to the sautè pan with the sauce. Add the basil, and toss until completely coated.
- Dish out into individual serving bowls and serve with grated Parmagiano-Reggiano.
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