Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

pasta with fresh tomato sauce

The recipe for the make-ahead fresh 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 ½ 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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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