Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
The recipe for the make-ahead tomato sauce came from a Neapolitan farmer. He readies it before dawn to "cook" before heading out to the fields; throughout the day, the flavors of the garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, and basil all meld together.
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 medium tomatoes
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- Coarse salt
- 1 pound pasta (fusilli or spaghetti)
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
Make chile oil: Stir together 1/2 cup oil and 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes. Let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Make sauce: Core tomatoes and tear into bite-size pieces directly into a serving bowl. Add garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, the oregano, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and remaining 1/2 cup oil. Lightly crush together using a wooden spoon. Let stand at room temperature 1 to 8 hours.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt to taste. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Drain. Add hot pasta to tomato mixture. Discard garlic cloves. Serve with Parmesan cheese for grating and with the chile oil for drizzling.