I have Ina Garten to thank for many foodie things in my life: a collection of her cookbooks that I use again and again, an appreciation for the simple truth that less honestly is more when it comes to good food, the courage to cook with new ingredients because she makes it look so easy, and (most importantly for my daily life) my favorite go-to dinner recipe—Summer Garden Pasta.
We all have that one easy dish we rely on, right? This recipe from her Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook is so simple and satisfying, and the ingredients are things I keep on hand.
I make this pasta at least once a week, especially in summer when the tomatoes are at their finest. Click the link above to see Ina’s original recipe. My version is just slightly adapted. If you are a serious carnivore, feel free to throw some grilled chicken or salmon on top. As Ina would say, “How bad could that be?”
Summer Garden Pasta (aka Garlicky Tomato Pasta)
Adapted from Ina Garten; Makes one generous serving
½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (Adjust this to your preference—the garlic is raw, so it’s very strong. I use 3 cloves, but I am crazy like that.)
5 or so large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Kosher salt & pepper
1 serving dried long-cut pasta (I usually have whole wheat linguine, so that’s what I use. But you can use regular angel hair or whatevs you have.)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature. Ina says to let this sit for about 4 hours (at least 2 ½ hours), but sometimes I just don’t have time for that. The longer it sits, the better; however, I have thrown it all together in 20 minutes and it still tasted good to me.
- Just before you’re ready to eat, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.
- Drain the pasta and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Add the cheese and some extra basil, and toss well.