- 1 pound of spaghetti or other dry pasta
- 6 large or 12 small vine-ripened tomatoes (number depends on the size of the tomato)
- 1 clove of fresh garlic
- “handful” of fresh basil, about 8 large leaves
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil for cooking + more as needed for serving
- Grated Italian cheese for serving
- Salt for the pasta water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add about 1 gallon of water to a large pot (for 1 lb of spaghetti) and set the burner on high to start the water boiling for the pasta. Add a “heavy pinch” of salt, about 4 teaspoons, to the water. It should be salty like seawater.
- Prepare your tomatoes by removing the seeds and crushing. See the video for how Chef Leo does this in a bowl of water that catches the seeds.
- Crush the fresh garlic and set it aside.
- Take the basil and remove the leaves from the stem but KEEP the stems.
- When your ingredients are ready and the water is boiling, put your spaghetti in the pot and stir so it doesn’t stick. Set your timer for about 10 minutes. Check it after about 6 or 7 minutes. It should NOT be overcooked or it will be mushy. Typically it should be cooked “al dente”.
- Turn on the burner under the sauté pan and add add the of extra virgin olive oil.
- Add your basil stems and the garlic and sauté, but be careful NOT to let the garlic turn brown or it will be bitter.
- Remove the basil stems from the pan.
- Use the cooking tongs to remove the pasta from the pot and add to the sauté pan.
- Use the ladle to add some of the pasta water to the sauté pan. This will help to thicken the sauce.
- Mix the tomato-basil-garlic-oil sauce with the pasta. Add more pasta water as needed if it looks like the pasta is too dry.
- Now you are ready to transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. You can use Chef Leo’s technique for making a nest. Take a cooking ladle and with your tongs, spin the spaghetti to form a nest and then place in the serving bowl. With one pound of pasta, you will have 5 or 6 nests. If you don’t want to try this, just add the spaghetti to the serving bowl.
- There should be some tomatoes and basil left at the bottom of the pan, so spread these over the top. Grate some Italian cheese over the top, put a light sprinkle of olive oil and serve!
Everyone will love this dish!
- Large bowl for the tomatoes
- Pot large enough for 1 lb of pasta
- Large saute pan (needs to hold the sauce and the cooked pasta)
- Wooden spoon
- Cooking Tongs