This fresh tomato pasta with basil pangrattato uses a few simple ingredients to make something so delicious. The sauce comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta, meaning you can have this meal on the table in under 15 minutes.
This is a dish for when tomatoes are in season. You need the natural sweetness. They are chopped roughly and then dressed with extra virgin olive oil and salt. The salt helps to draw out the juice and this combined with the evoo is the basis for the sauce.
The tomato and evoo sauce is mixed with some of the pasta cooking water, makes a simple sauce that coats the pasta.
The basil pangrattato adds crunch to the dish. The breadcrumbs are fried in a little butter and oil, seasoned generously and then tossed with some chopped basil. This method for using up stale bread adds a salty crunch to dishes. And is why pangrattato is also called the poor man’s parmesan. The story goes that the farm workers couldn’t afford parmesan but instead would use their stale bread to create a topping for their pasta dishes. This is why you need to ensure you season pangrattato well – it is meant to replace a salty parmesan.
To start: For non-vegetarians a simple platter of prosciutto and melon would be a fresh summery way to start this meal. For a vegetarian alternative thinly slice zucchini and serve that with the melon and some salted capers.
Wine: To balance the natural acidity in the tomatoes pick a slightly acidic and dry white like a Verdicchio or a Sauvignon Blanc. For the red lovers something like a Barbera would compliment the tomatoes and buttery breadcrumbs.
Fresh Tomato Pasta with Basil Pangrattato
- 12 oz linguine (340g)
- 6 large roma/plum tomatoes
- 1 small garlic clove
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- Small bunch fresh basil
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp butter
- 1/2 cup fresh or dried breadcrumbs
Bring a large pot of water to boil and then add a generous amount of salt.
Add the linguine and cook until al dente. (around 1 minute less than the packet suggests)
Whilst the pasta is cooking prepare the tomatoes and Pangrattato.
Chop the tomatoes into bitesized chunks and remove the core.
Add the tomatoes to a non-metalic bowl, crush in the garlic and then dressing wth the evoo and red wine vinegar. Add a good pinch of salt and sat aside so the salt can draw the liquid from the tomatoes.
Melt the butter in a pan with the olive oil and once it is foaming add the breadcrumbs.
Cook over a medium high heat until they are crisp and golden.
Remove the breadcrumbs from the pan to prevent them burning and seasoning generously with salt and pepper.
Finely chop half of the basil and stir it through the breadcrumbs.
Reserve a cook of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta.
Add the pasta back into the pan and carefully pour in the juice that has collected in the tomato bowl.
Use 2 tbsp (or more) of the pasta water to ensure you get a good coating on the pasta.
Add in the tomato mixture and remaining basil then stir to combine.
Remove from the heat and serve immediately with the basil pangrattato.