please, if you do nothing else before it is undeniably autumn, make this spaghetti with cherry tomato sauce. i stumbled on the recipe in marco canora’s salt to taste and began thinking of cherry tomatoes like they were some sort of affirmation. days later i was gifted a generous pile with skin so translucent you could see the sweetness within. i love the law of attraction. (sidenote: truffles, truffles, truffles). this dish is the essence of minimalism. basic ingredients and a quick preparation produce a pasta that made all four people that tried it moan. M O A N. no lie. every strand of spaghetti gets coated in syrupy tomato juices–the elixir of a lazy summer. a deft shower of lemony gremolata and parmesan at the end wakes everything up. so, repeat after me: cherry tomatoes. do it until 2 pounds cross your path and head straight for the kitchen.
spaghetti with cherry tomatoes & gremolata
barely adapted from marco canora’s in salt to taste
for the gremolata
1 garlic clove
strips of peel from 1/2 a lemon, white pith removed
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
for the pasta & sauce
1 pound spaghetti
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 small garlic cloves, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 pounds cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup shaved parmigiano-reggiano
make the gremolata: chop the garlic, lemon peel, parsley and salt together until they are finely minced. set aside in a bowl.
make the pasta and sauce: bring a stockpot of salted water to a boil. add the spaghetti and cook, until it is just al dente.
while the pasta is cooking, combine the olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes and parsley in a large skillet (make sure to choose one large enough to fit all the tomatoes). place on the stovetop over low heat, allowing the garlic and parsley to infuse the olive oil. swirl or stir every so often. as soon as the garlic begins to color, add the tomato paste and turn the heat to high. continually stir for one minute. add the cherry tomatoes. season with salt and pepper and fry the tomatoes, stirring frequently, until they are soft and starting to fall apart, about 3-5 minutes. you want the juices to release and concentrate while still maintaining the individuality of the tomatoes. adjust the heat if necessary.
lift the pasta out of the water and add it to the skillet with the sauce. add a little of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce, if needed. cook the pasta in the sauce for about 1 – 2 minutes. serve the pasta topped with the gremolata and shaved parmesan.
(Printed by permission from Lauren Wilkinson of Groovefood at www.groovefood.typepad.com)