Recipe for angel-hair pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil

Credit: Sheryl Julian

Serves 4

Fine strands of angel-hair pasta need a mild sauce. In this case, sauteed cherry tomatoes with garlic and a couple of regular tomatoes for body make a fine, quick meal. Use pints of mixed cherry tomatoes, which often include golden yellow rounds, orange grape tomatoes, and a dark, almost purple sphere or two. Halve the larger cherries and pierce the smaller ones with the tip of a knife. The sauce comes together in a few minutes; angel-hair pasta takes less than five. Fold in lots of fresh basil leaves and with very little effort, you’ll dine well.

2 medium tomatoes, cored
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pints mixed cherry
tomatoes, large ones halved, others pierced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons cold water
16 ounces dried angel-hair pasta
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
2 cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

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1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the medium tomatoes, count to 10, and use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl of cold water. Lift out, pat dry, and peel the tomatoes. Cut them into 2-inch pieces.

2. Add a large pinch of salt to the water; set it over low heat.

3. In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons oil. Add the cherry tomatoes and cut-up tomatoes. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook 1 minute more. Add the cold water. Set the skillet aside off the heat.

4. Return the pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and when the water returns to a boil, cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pasta is just tender but still has some bite. Dip a heatproof measuring cup into the water and remove ¼ cup.

5. Drain the pasta into a colander and without rinsing it, return it to the pan. Add the pasta cooking water and sprinkle with oil. Toss well.

6. In 4 deep bowls, add a spoonful of the sauce and some of the basil leaves. With tongs, toss the remaining basil with the pasta. Divide the pasta among the bowls, add sauce to each, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Sheryl Julian

This column offers ways to prepare native ingredients from the farmers’ market, farm stand, or fishmonger. To see previous recipes for hake, zucchini, eggplant, corn, and more, go to www.bostonglobe.com/food.

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