I love cooking with fragrant basil, it is one of my favorite smells. I will use pretty much any excuse to add it to a dish, and I'm rarely disappointed. Along with tomatoes this veggie can elevate anything in such a simple way. For this light summer meal we get rid of the notion of a thick pasta sauce and instead the juice from the tomatoes themselves mixed with butter or oil create the perfect, light coating for the noodles. In-season tomatoes are extra juicy, so this is a perfect use for all that extra tomato water. Great for lunch or a not-too-heavy dinner after a hot summer day.
Ingredients (serves 2-4):
- 300 g pasta
- 2-3 bunches basil (80 g)
- 6 medium tomatoes (600 g)
- 4 tbsp butter or olive oil
1) Chop tomatoes coarsely and place in colander or strainer over a bowl. Sprinkle with 2 tsp salt and mix. Leave to drain and don't discard the liquid.
2) Boil water for pasta. Salt lightly or as you typically prefer for cooking pasta.
3) Pull basil off stems and rinse lightly while getting pasta ready. A cute helper with butterfly tattoos makes the interminable task of de-stemming basil go faster.
4) Drain pasta BEFORE tender, when it's still quite al dente. You can use the guide on the box or bag of pasta to direct you and drain when 2/3 of the time is done.
5) Add drained tomato water and heat on low with the pot lid on, stirring occasionally. If needed, add a splash of water (ie, if still too al dente when the liquid has all been absorbed).
6) When pasta is tender and most or all of the tomato water has been absorbed, add butter or olive oil and stir.
7) Mix tomatoes and basil with pasta and serve immediately. Salt if needed.