As we were eating this lovely pasta dish, The Hubs exclaimed how much he liked it. I responded “And the list of ingredients was short for such depth of flavor and it was simple to boot!” Then he looked at the Milk Street recipe print out and saw that this adaptation hailed from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook titled “Simple”—how serendipitous!
That being said, I cut back the pasta from 12 to 8 ounces because it did not seem that the amount of sauce would be sufficient for the larger quantity. With gentle simmering and a bit of water to facilitate cooking, cherry or grape tomatoes are transformed into a bold pasta sauce. To ratchet up the flavor, herbs, red pepper flakes and pecorino Romano are added. Try to get a block of the cheese to create shavings as opposed to the already grated variety.
Fusilli was our choice, but spaghetti or bucatini (a tubular pasta resembling thick spaghetti) also pairs particularly well with the sauce. Be aware that you do not want to simmer the tomatoes until there is no liquid remaining. Some moisture is needed for the sauce to cling to the pasta.
Fusilli with Cherry Tomato Sauce and Fresh Sage
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
- 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ tsp. white sugar
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage, divided
- 8 oz. fusilli, bucatini pasta or spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
- ¾ tsp. smoked paprika
- Shaved pecorino Romano, to serve
- Add the oil to a 12-inch skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high, and add the garlic, pepper flakes and bay, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 4 minutes.
- Reduce to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a steady simmer, until the tomatoes have fully broken down and the sauce is thick enough that a spatula drawn through it leaves a trail, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and remove and discard the bay. Stir in 1 tablespoon of sage and the smoked paprika, then cover to keep warm.
- When the sauce is almost ready, in a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the fusilli, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
- Drain the pasta, then return to the pot. Add the sauce and toss until well combined. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sage and shaved pecorino, then drizzle with additional oil.
Loosely adapted from a recipe by Milk Street