The freshest of tomato sauce recipes, made with barely cooked tomatoes, basil and seasonings. This simple weeknight meal comes together in no time! Recipe yields 2 large (as in, restaurant-sized) portions or 4 more reasonable servings.
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar, optional
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 very small garlic clove (or ½ medium clove), pressed or minced
½ pound whole grain thin spaghetti or angel-hair pasta or rotini/fusilli or penne
Optional but recommended: ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Core and coarsely chop two-thirds of the tomatoes. Halve the remaining tomatoes down the middle and discard the tough top part where the tomatoes met the stem, if it exists. Rub the cut sides of the tomatoes against the large holes of a box grater set in a large bowl. Leave the tomato pulp in the bowl and discard the skin.
Add the chopped tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, sugar, several twists of freshly ground black pepper and the pressed garlic to the bowl. Mix well. Let the mixture marinate while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and then cook the pasta just until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve about a cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta.
Drain the pasta, then immediately return it to the pot. Pour in all of the tomato sauce and a small splash (about ¼ cup) of the pasta cooking water. Cook over medium-low heat for about 1 to 2 minutes, tossing often (gentle now!), just long enough for the tomatoes to soften a bit and for the starchy tomato water to coat the pasta.
Remove from heat and toss with (optional) Parmesan and (mandatory) basil. Serve immediately.