6 quarts water
2 - 3 tablespoons sea salt
1/2 pound spaghetti
2 garlic cloves
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 - 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters
1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
1 - 2 tablespoons of basil, parsley, oregano, or arugula (optional)


1. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add salt and spaghetti and cook until quite al dente (hard), about 3/4 done.
2. While the pasta is cooking, place the garlic and chili pepper in a large non-stick skillet, drizzle with the oil and place over medium heat until the garlic barely begins to brown. Add the tomatoes, raise the heat to high, and cook until the tomatoes are wilted, about 4 -5 minutes. Set aside.
3. When the pasta is cooked to quite al dente, drain well, reserving 1 cup of the starchy pasta cooking water. Add the drained pasta to the skillet. Pour in 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and cook over the highest heat, stirring with a wooden fork to mix the pasta and sauce very well. Add more pasta cooking water if the sauce dries out and the pasta isn't cooked. Sprinkle with the chopped herb before serving, if desired.
Faith Willinger notes that with cherry tomatoes now available year 'round, you can have fresh tomato sauce anytime.
Pasta with Speedy Cherry
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