Makes About 4 servings
Time About 30 minutes
With good tomatoes and good basil, this uncooked sauce is unbeatable and absurdly easy to make. This sauce is also good with fried foods (or chips, for that matter), on top of Polenta, or anywhere you’d use raw salsa or relish.
You can use good-quality canned plum tomatoes; it won’t be the same, but it won’t be bad (do not, however, use dried basil, here or anywhere else). And don’t smash the garlic too thoroughly or you’ll have trouble removing it before serving.
2 cups roughly chopped ripe tomatoes or chopped canned plum tomatoes, well drained
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 pound linguine or other long pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put the tomatoes, oil, some salt and pepper, the garlic, and half the basil in a broad-bottomed bowl. Mash together well, using a fork or potato masher, but do not purée. (At this point, you can let the sauce rest at room temperature for an hour or two.)
2. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until tender but not mushy. Ladle some of the cooking water into the sauce to thin it out a bit and warm it up. Remove the garlic. Toss the pasta with the sauce; taste and adjust the seasoning. Top with the remaining basil and serve, passing the grated Parmesan at the table if you like.