This is a sort of guest post, I suppose, since I did not make this delicious-looking plate of pomodorini & pesto spaghetti that you see here. My dear friend Pina did. I was, however, lucky enough to eat it. And to watch her make it, which is why I can now share this fabulous recipe with you. (In the interest of full disclosure, let me add that I was responsible for actually slicing the pomodorini in half. I’m no slacker. Just saying.)
I will also note that this particular spaghetti dish really surprised me in the most delectable of ways.
When Pina suggested making this dish for us for lunch, I accepted it as one might accept a ride from a friend for a three-block walk. Sure, the ride offer was nice, but no big deal…really. While I thought I would enjoy eating a plate of spaghetti with pomodorini, I didn’t expect to find as much pleasure in the experience as if she had offered to make homemade lasagna or pappardelle with a nice lamb ragu.
Was I wrong!
The moment I put a forkful of her spaghetti in my mouth, I thought my brain would explode from sensory overload. The lightness of the tomatoes, the richness and savoriness of her homemade pesto, the crisp freshness and slightly bitter pepperiness that came from biting into a piece of parsley, the pleasant chewiness of the perfectly cooked spaghetti…all topped with the added cheesy zing brought by a liberal sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
For such summery ingredients, each mouthful felt so rich and decadent, but still very light, meaning no one needed a wheel barrow to rise from the table.
I can honestly say that I haven’t enjoyed a plate of spaghetti like that in a very, very long time. And what a perfect summer dish to boot.
Thank you, beautiful Pina! Here she is, the hostess with the mostest, making us this tasty treat when we recently visited her and her fab family for the weekend. Miss you and love you!
making pomodorini & pesto spaghetti
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a good handful of Kosher salt and 600 grams (approximately 1 and 1/3 of a box) of spaghetti.
Stir immediately for the first minute that the spaghetti hits the water to prevent sticking. If you do this, adding oil to the water becomes unnecessary and, in my opinion, more effective. Cook according to the packaging instructions and begin to test it for doneness 2 minutes before its estimated finish time. You want to make sure the spaghetti is cooked but nice and firm, or al dente. Drain well.
While the water is coming to a boil, wash and slice 2 pints of pomodorini or grape tomatoes in half and prep 4 garlic cloves by removing their skin, cutting them in half and removing the bitter little green sprout. Chop them up, in large pieces if you like the garlic flavor to be subtle or mince it for a real garlic kick. While I love garlic, especially the fresh garlic you can buy in the fall, I don’t like its flavor to hit me over the head, so I don’t chop my garlic up too much.
Then, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, shallow saucepan on medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and gently sauté for approximately two minutes, or until slightly golden. Add the tomato halves and a ½ cup of tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes. The tomato halves should soften but still retain their shape. Season with salt.
Add the drained spaghetti to the pan and mix well. I use plastic-coated kitchen tongues for the job and find they work beautifully…even better than a pasta fork. Add 1/3 of a cup of pesto and¼ cup of loosely packed and then chopped parsley and mix well again. Divvy out the portions into individual bowls, douse with freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino cheese and add a good crack of fresh-cracked pepper. Makes 6 servings.