Summer is Coming

I know this because the grape tomatoes taste so sweet. I cannot wait to pull them off the vine. I think there are grape tomatoes planted this year; I hope. Grape tomatoes are versatile. They can be eaten raw, be roasted, sauteed, fried ... well, I guess all tomatoes ... but yum, grape tomatoes. I just had an idea about battering and frying grape tomatoes - I just might try it - sort of like tempura, with tomatoes. Who's with me on that deliciousness? Anyway, in this case, they are sauteed in oil and smashed, for an incredibly easy meal which is perfect for late late spring, nearly summer. 

The origin of this recipe comes from Real Simple, many years ago. I like it because it requires no real measurement, is very easy, and is good for an entry level cook or a learned chef. I make this recipe for one or two people. Double-ish it if you are feeding more. 

From your pantry: olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic
Buy: one pint grape tomatoes, long skinny pasta like angel hair or thin spaghetti, which let's face it, is pretty much angel hair, basil, and possibly some grana padano (possibly my very favorite hard cheese) if you're up for it, it works well on top but isn't crucial

This dish takes literally 8 minutes to prepare, plus the 10 minutes to wait for the water to boil. Dinner in 18 minutes people. I love dinner in 18 minutes. 

Start your water. Salt it. Cover it. Let it come to a boil. In the meantime, grab a couple / few cloves of garlic depending on your garlic flavor preference and slice thinly into discs. Wash your tomatoes in a colander. Use this colander later to drain your pasta. Wash your basil, and dry it between a couple paper towels.

A few minutes before your water boils, pour some, and by some I mean enough to heavily cover the bottom, olive oil into a saute pan. Heat this over medium heat - about 5 or 6 on an electric stove. While that's warming up, add your pasta into the pan and set your timer. When the oil is heated, add the tomatoes. They're going to sizzle, snap, and otherwise make you believe those crazy kids are setting off fireworks in the neighborhood again, but fear not! It's just the watery tomatoes getting all hot and bothered and popping. 

Give your pan a swirl to keep them moving, which will also prevent them from popping and simultaneously leaping out of the pan. It happened to me, look in the picture, I'm not lying. Once you start hearing them pop, grab a metal spatula and start smashing them. This is fun, kind of like bubble wrap, but with tomatoes. 

At this point, your pasta probably has a minute or two left. Reduce the heat to 1 or 2 (low), and add in the sliced garlic. Also throw in a pinch of kosher salt (maybe half a teaspoon or so) and a few turns of your pepper mill. Give it a stir and let it come together. 

Now drain your pasta and put it in a pasta bowl or other serving dish. I really like pasta bowls though - bought four this year for the first time, and it's quite the improvement, especially for serving very saucy pasta dishes, which this one definitely is. 

Finally, tear up maybe 6-10 leaves of basil into pieces (the perfection is in the imperfection), and stir them into the tomato sauce. Pour onto the pasta. If you're up for it, add some freshly grated grana padano, but maybe save that for a time when the tomatoes themselves are less superb. December, perhaps. I love the simplicity of ingredients but enormous flavor of this meal.