Yum, right??? The title alone is mouth watering. Which is how food should be; tantalizing out the gate. This is why I prefer cookbooks with photos. I find it very hard to cook towards a goal without a delectable visual. This dish was inspired by Martha Stewart from her “Meatless” cookbook. This is an excellent, beautiful cookbook that I highly recommend. Hundreds of clean, healthy options. The joy for me here was being able to use fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden. Fresh basil is one of most delightful, invigorating scents. It’s a pain in the butt to clean, but so worth it.
The first step in this almost no cook sauce is to heat the garlic in olive oil over a low simmer, resulting in freshly flavored garlic oil. This garlic infused oil will serve you well; it has endless uses. Simply dip bread in it or use it to roast vegetables, and you’ve already elevated your cooking tenfold. You can make extra and store in a pretty drizzle bottle. It also makes a really cool and unusual hostess gift. Here, the garlic oil is used to marinate the tomatoes while the pasta cooks. Tossing the warm pasta with the tomatoes makes for better flavor blending. That’s a rule in general with pasta or grains.
A package of spinach linguini or any long pasta, a flat variety works too.
Five thinly sliced garlic cloves.
Half cup olive oil.
Two pounds heirloom or mixed color cherry tomatoes, cut into wedges or halves.
A cup of torn, fresh basil leaves.
Four tbsp of those tiny capers (I used a whole small jar) rinsed and drained. If you only have the large capers just chop them a bit.
3 tsp grated fresh lemon zest.
A quarter tsp crushed red pepper flakes.
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.
Combine garlic and olive oil in a small saucepan and cook on low about ten minutes, until garlic is pale golden. Strain; reserve garlic oil and slivers. Let cool.
Now mix the tomatoes with half a cup of basil, the lemon zest, the capers, the red pepper flakes, and half a tsp salt in a large bowl. Pour garlic slivers and the garlic oil over the tomato mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate room temperature for 30 minutes. Toss gently occasionally.
Cook pasta al dente in salted water. Drain. Add warm pasta to bowl and gently mix. Top with remaining half cup of basil. Season with fresh pepper and add another little sprinkling of lemon zest grated directly over. I like to garnish with three perfect, whole basil leaves in the center of the dish. When serving, make sure you present with a lot of color by gently pushing some of the bright tomatoes to the top of the pile. Color always! This can be made a day ahead if needed, just add the basil right before serving so it doesn’t turn brown overnight. If it’s in the fridge, bring to room temperature before eating. 🥖🥗. Pass the pasta!