Fans Are Obsessed with Ina Garten's Five Star Tomato-Basil Pasta: "It's Inexpensive, Quick and Tasty"
With a book focused on Modern Comfort Food (buy it: $19, Target), those uninitiated in the magical powers of Ina Garten might envision a lot of hearty stews and cheesy casseroles. Sure, she has a few of those in her recipe archives, but Garten is actually great at transforming fresh produce into something that toes the line between speedy and showy.
Take, for instance, her Parmesan Roasted Zucchini. This perfect-for-summer recipe earns glowing reviews from fans such as, "Made this countless times. This is now my go-to recipe for zucchini."
Hot on the heels of that summer squash masterpiece, Garten is back with a greatest hit (it originally aired on Barefoot Contessa in 2009!) that was recently reposted on the Food Network YouTube page.
The total time is about 15 minutes—yep, start to finish! So after spotting that detail and seeing fan reviews like, "This was SO good, inexpensive, quick and tasty," and "I have been making this recipe for years. It's the absolute best way to showcase the essence of summer," we knew this Capellini with Tomatoes and Basil needed to be on our dinner menu this week.
It's inspired by a bounty of cherry tomatoes from Garten's garden; the pasta toss uses 4 pints of the healthy summer produce pick.
"It's very good and it's so fast," Garten says as she adds ½ cup of olive oil to a measuring cup to begin the super-summer supper idea. "I'm going to use a lot of olive oil, but it's actually going to end up being tossed with the pasta—about ½ cup," she says. "I used to make this recipe by marinating the tomatoes for about 6 hours. Then one day I thought, 'Maybe I can just sauté them and it will take 3 minutes?' And you know what, it worked."
Shaving 5 hours and 57 minutes off of the recipe's total time? We certainly dig that math!
Into a large skillet (Garten loves All-Clad products, like this 12-Inch All-Clad d5 Stainless-Steel Fry Pan; buy it: $195, Williams Sonoma) over medium heat, dump the olive oil, and allow it to heat up. As it does, chop up six cloves of garlic and put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
"I'm using cappellini because it takes literally 2 minutes to cook in a pot of boiling water," she explains. "It takes more time to boil the water than it does to make the dish!"
Cook the chopped garlic in the oil for about 30 seconds, then strip the leaves off fresh thyme stems until you have about 2 teaspoons to toss into the garlic oil. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper as well as a "big pinch" of red pepper flakes.
Dump in 4 pints of rinsed cherry tomatoes, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the tomato "sauce" simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, gently tossing occasionally.
Drop the pasta into the boiling water, and as that simmers to al dente perfection, julienne piles of fresh basil and parsley. Take the tomato-filled skillet off the heat, top with the fresh herbs and use a wooden spoon to incorporate.
"The heat just wilts them, but it doesn't change the flavor," Garten says, or darken the vibrant green hue.
Then instead of shredding the cheese by hand, Garten has one final trick up her sleeve for "really fast Parmesan cheese." Her food processor (buy it: $119.99, Amazon)! Roughly chop a wedge of Parmesan, pop on the lid, and blitz the cheese until it's finely grated.
Drain the pasta, then add it right into the skillet with the garlicky tomatoes "so it really absorbs all of that wonderful oil...and seasoning," Garten says as she gives the cappellini a toss with the tomatoes.
Garten finishes the dish with Parmesan and asks, "Now is that one of the fastest dishes you've ever seen?"