Tomato Basil Pasta

Can you just smell that fresh basil??

Every summer when I get a huge bunch of fresh basil from the farmer's market (for $1.00!), I have to make this family-favorite recipe. It was originally called "pink pasta," but I, uh, changed the name. And the recipe.

This is one of those select recipes where I allow myself to use half-and-half (the original actually calls for cream, if you want to use that).

Tomato-Basil Pasta
5 servings

2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
1/2 cup loosely-packed fresh basil leaves
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (or pecorino romano or combination)
10 oz. whole-wheat pasta (pictured is whole-grain pasta)

Drain one can of diced tomatoes, set aside. Combine the other can (with liquid) with fresh basil leaves and puree (in a blender, food processor, or immersion blender).
Place your nose about an inch away from puree. And. Inhale.
Meanwhile, melt butter in sauce pan over low heat. Add basil/tomato puree & drained tomatoes; cook over medium-high heat until thickens (10 minutes or so). Add half-and-half and cheese. Continue cooking until sauce is fairly thick.
Cook pasta until al dente; drain and toss with olive oil to prevent sticking. Serve by topping pasta with sauce, fresh basil, and more cheese if desired.

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