Cherry Tomato and Basil Spaghetti

Despite the rain, the weather has been so lovely this spring. I get spring fever easily and last night I wanted to eat spaghetti with a light, fresh sauce.  It was a perfect opportunity to cook with sweet cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. I had a blast peeling the tomatoes, while sipping on a glass of white wine, then popping them into the food processor for a smooth sauce.  This sauce beats anything I can find in a can.  This is going on our favorites list for being sweet, spicy, fresh, and light. Serve this with a fresh baguette and grated or shaved Parmesan.

Ingredients

1 large onion
1 large garlic clove
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sweet cherry tomatoes
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon white sugar*
12 ounces dried wheat spaghetti
1 large handful of fresh basil leaves
Freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preparation

  • Cut a cross in the base of each tomato, then plunge into a bowl of boiling water. Leave for around 30 seconds, then lift them out with a slotted spoon and drop them into a bowl of cold water. Drain well, then remove the skins from the tomatoes. Set aside.
  • Peel the onion and garlic.  Place both in food processor and blend into a thick puree.
  • Heat oil in a large pan, add the onion and garlic puree and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Place the tomatoes in the food processor and blend into a puree. You can blend till smooth or just pulse a few times if you like small chunks of tomato in your sauce.
  • Add the tomato puree to the pan. Add salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low and cover.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes, until the mixture is thick.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Cut or tear the basil leaves into small pieces.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat, stir in the basil and check the seasoning. Add more salt and  black pepper, if needed.
  • Drain the pasta, then place into a large warmed bowl. Pour the sauce over and toss the mixture well. Serve immediately in bowls topped with Parmesan.

*Sugar cuts the acidity of the tomatoes.

Servings: 4

Calories: about 470 per serving.

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