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Meat-Free Monday | Ottolenghi’s Cherry Tomato Pasta

When the weather’s hot I crave the taste of Ottolenghi’s Middle Eastern dishes – the sweet tomatoes and fresh herbs so typical in his recipe’s are perfect for a summers day. My original recipe I was going to use this week consisted of roasting aubergines in the oven for an hour. Considering we’re in the middle of a heatwave I didn’t think anybody would thank for me turning their kitchens into saunas! So this very popular and family friendly sauce is perfect to make in large batches and freeze, super handy during school holidays and you can just leave out the anchovies according to taste. Enjoy and stay cool…

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)

90ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced very thinly
1kg cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ tsp caster sugar (or a bit more or less, depending on the tomatoes’ sweetness)
2 dried Ancho chillies, roughly torn
Salt
20g basil leaves, torn, plus 5g extra, finely chopped just before serving, to garnish
400g spaghetti
35g parmesan, finely grated

METHOD

Put 75ml of the oil in a large saute pan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the garlic and fry for up to a minute, stirring a few times, until it’s just starting to caramelise. Add the tomatoes (be gentle, or the oil may spit), sugar, chillies and half a teaspoon of salt. Add 200ml water and stir through for four minutes, until the tomatoes are starting to break down and the liquid is bubbling. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook for an hour, stirring every once in a while, until the tomatoes have completely broken down and the sauce has thickened. Stir through the torn basil and keep somewhere warm.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil, add the pasta and cook for 10-12 minutes (or according to the instructions on the packet), until the pasta is cooked but still retains a bite. Drain, return the pasta to the pan and stir in the remaining oil. Divide the spaghetti between the bowls, spoon over the tomato sauce, sprinkle over the parmesan and serve at once, with a sprinkle of finely chopped basil on top.

ottolenghi.co.uk

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