So far many of the recipe I've shared have been easy to make but with lots of ingredients. This one, not so much. This pasta is inspired by one my mom's friend, Catherine, made one summer night on her patio. I was lucky enough to be included in this meal. She is THE BEST at the Italian way of entertaining - taking simple ingredients and really making them shine. It goes to show you that you don't need to over manipulate or make things more complicated than they need to be.
Since then, I have recreated this pasta dozens and dozens of times. It's my go-to... and I often do a vegetarian version when my husband is working. It's absolutely delicious without the Italian sausage so feel free to omit if you want for a Meatless Monday or you just want an even lighter option.
Pair with your favourite dry Rosé or a chilled, light bodied red.
Tomato Basil Pasta with Italian Sausage + Goat Cheese
Serves 2 people generously
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced or halved
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 small shallot, very finely sliced
1/2 pack of Italian sausage meat, or two Italian sausages with casings removed (hot or mild)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated (do not pack the Parmesan cheese, just measure it roughly so it stays fluffy)
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
200 grams dried pasta, spaghetti or capellini
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
3 tablespoons fresh chèvre (appproximate measurement, just crumble over however much you like!)
*Omit the Italian sausage if you prefer a vegetarian option.
Slice, halve or quarter tomatoes and add to large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and toss. Set aside and allow to sit for 1-4 hours. You want the tomato juice to run but DO NOT discard it - that juice is the flavourful base for the pasta.
Once the tomatoes have released their juices, add garlic, shallot, black pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss to combine And allow to sit for 5+ minutes so the flavours come together.
Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente (follow instructions on box). Meanwhile, brown your Italian sausage. Remove from pan and set aside.
Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside. Using tongs, quickly remove pasta from pot and add to bowl with tomatoes. Toss together with the basil, sausage and Parmesan cheese. If necessary, add in the reserved pasta water a small splash at a time until the pasta tosses beautifully in the bowl.
Serve topped with a little extra Parmesan, basil and the crumbled goat cheese.
Be sure to tag @crushfoodandwine if you try this recipe!