Scott Conant’s Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Basil
About 20 ripe plum tomatoes
About 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to finish the dish
Pinch crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ounce freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/2 cup)
6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, well washed and dried, stacked and rolled into a cylinder and cut thinly crosswise into a chiffonade
1 pound spaghetti, high-quality dry or homemade
Peel the tomatoes by plunging them into boiling water, then ice water, and pulling off the skins. Cut in half and use your finger to flick out the seeds.
In a wide pan, heat the 1/3 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes; season lightly with the salt and pepper. Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes to soften. Then, using a potato masher, chop the tomatoes finely. Cook 20 to 25 minutes, until tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened.
Bring a large pot of amply salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until just shy of al dente. Reserve a little of the pasta cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook over medium-high heat, gently tossing the pasta and sauce together with a couple of wooden spoons until the pasta is just tender and the sauce, if any oil had separated from it, now looks cohesive. (If the sauce seems too thick, add a little pasta cooking liquid.) Take the pan off of the heat and toss the butter, basil, and cheese with the pasta in the same manner (the pasta should take on an orange hue) and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 277 calories (66 percent from fat), 21.8 g fat (4.5 g saturated, 14 g monounsaturated), 7.9 mg cholesterol, 4.7 g protein, 20.3 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 31 mg sodium.