A long time ago, I made up my own recipe for a quick pasta sauce. I don’t remember how this recipe was born, exactly – I’m sure it was a mixture of creativity, stuff in the fridge and a hardcore craving for pasta.
Since then I’ve prepared one variation after another literally hundreds of times. It’s the sort of recipe you can change up according to the ingredients you have on hand. I eat far too much of it. I can admit my faults.
At the time I last made this, I had the great trifecta on hand: Tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil. Talk about a match made in heaven, and my personal favorite flavor combination.
I also had black olives, which worked because I’ll put them in just about anything. I’ve been known to eat handfuls of them at a time. I might need therapy.
If I had spinach or mushrooms I’d have added them as well. Lemon juice, white wine, any other fresh herbs…let your creativity run wild.
This sauce is such a wonder that unless you’re cooking fresh pasta or something thin like angel hair, you can prepare it in the time it takes the pasta to cook!
The fresh basil wilts when tossed with the hot pasta, and its scent is released. It mingles with the garlic and tomatoes and creates a cloud of temptation which hangs in the air and begs you to take a taste. And let’s not even talk about how the mozzarella starts to melt and fuse itself with the pasta. Shaved Parmesan? Be still my heart.
Go ahead. Try it for yourself. And love this child of our combined imaginations.
This recipe should serve at least 3 people. Or one person, 3 times. Guess which applies to me?
8 oz uncooked pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup black olives, rough chopped
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed or pearls
Handful fresh basil leaves, torn
Add pasta to heavily salted boiling water.
When pasta goes into water, heat butter and olive oil in large pan over medium heat. When foam subsides, add garlic and stir gently. Allow to cook for no more than 30 seconds or so.
Add tomatoes and toss to coat in butter/oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes start to pop. Allow this to continue until tomatoes are all popped and starting to break down. Add olives. Check for seasoning, then add salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat to low.
Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add pasta to pan to combine with sauce, adding cooking water if necessary. Add mozzarella and basil, tossing quickly to combine, then pour into serving bowl. Serve immediately.