|Pasta Pomodoro with Feta, Garlic & Herbs|
Get a pot of water started on your stovetop and bring it up to a boil while you prep the ingredients.
Chop several cloves of garlic, a small onion, and a few fresh ripe tomatoes. Tear up some basil leaves, and if you have other herbs you like available, mince some of those up too. This turned out great with basil and thyme. When cooking for two hungry people, I typically use about five garlic cloves and four big tomatoes for about half a pound of pasta, but this isn't really a counting/measuring recipe. Just eyeball everything. It will taste good no matter what. Trust me.
Here's my secret flavor enhancer: Take about 2 teaspoons of the minced garlic and place into a small prep bowl with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Heat in the microwave for about a minute to make a quick garlic oil. Be careful when you take it out of the microwave because the oil gets really hot. (You could also do this on the stovetop but it's such a small amount using the microwave is just easier.) Set the garlic oil aside for later.
Now heat some olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and add a dash or two of red pepper flakes (or not, if you don't like a touch of heat). Add the chopped onion and "sweat" till translucent. (I think it's funny that "sweating" is a real cooking term. It just means cook gently to release some water/cook through without browning.)
When your water is boiling, add a big handful of salt and let it come up to a boil again, then stir in your favorite pasta (I like long pasta for this sauce) and cook until just short of perfectly al dente.
Add the rest of the raw chopped garlic to the onion and heat for another minute or two until fragrant, then add your tomatoes and any juices they've released, plus some salt and pepper. Turn up the heat to medium-high so the tomatoes start to get juicier and bubbly, then go back to medium heat so all the juice doesn't bubble away. Cook for a total of five to eight minutes, then add the herbs.
Drain the pasta and dump it right into the still-bubbling sauce. If it looks like you have too much pasta for the amount of sauce you made, just add what looks like the right amount to you. Save the rest of the pasta by tossing it with a bit of olive oil and refrigerating it. You can even make a pasta frittata out of it another day.
Continue to cook the pasta in the sauce for another minute or so. Allowing the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce lets it really soak up all that flavor nicely. Add some crumbled feta cheese and grated Parmesan.
Now for the finishing touch! Drizzle the reserved garlic oil on top of the pasta and toss everything together. Messy perfection!
And since tomatoes are in season, why not enjoy this with a delicious and beautiful caprese salad, like we did last night?