Make a simple sauce with smashed tomatoes

Posted March 29, 2011, at 5:28 p.m.
Last modified March 29, 2011, at 5:50 p.m.

A little pasta. A carton of tomatoes. Seasonings. It’s a meal. And a quick one, at that.

This is the kind of recipe that lends itself to all sorts of variations, depending on what you have in your cupboard.

Don’t have butterfly pasta (farfalle)? Use what you have. Want something heartier? Add a cup or two of cooked chicken or shrimp or tuna. The herbs can be anything you like; try basil and parsley together, or thyme by itself. Need some tang? Add a tablespoon or two of capers.

Maybe we should call it “however you like it” pasta.

Tips:

Dried herbs can be substituted for fresh: Use only a third as much, though, due to their stronger flavor.

If you have more time, continue cooking the sauce for a thicker texture and more mellow flavor.

Beverage suggestion: Pinot grigio is a crisp, light wine, in keeping with the herbal Italian flavors here.

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BUTTERFLY PASTA WITH SIMPLE SMASHED TOMATO SAUCE

Makes 4 servings

½ box (16-ounce box) butterfly pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1½ pints cherry or grape tomatoes

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs or 1 teaspoon dried

½ teaspoon coarse salt

Freshly ground pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese or cubed fresh mozzarella

1. Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook according to package directions.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat; add tomatoes. Cook, shaking the pan a few times, until tomatoes begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion; cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Lightly smash tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Add herbs, salt and pepper to taste; cook 1 minute.

3. Drain pasta; stir into skillet with the sauce until coated. Sprinkle with cheese to taste or stir in mozzarella. Adjust seasoning; serve hot.

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