- 2 pounds small cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 3/4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 6 to 8 large basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1 pound frozen hand-cut spaghetti or chitarra
- 1 pound stracciatella
- Bring a large pot of cold, salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- Heat a convection oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss the tomatoes and the garlic with two tablespoons of the olive oil until coated. Season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer and bake until the tomatoes are beginning to brown but are still juicy, about 20 minutes (25 minutes in standard oven).
- While the tomatoes cook, pour the remaining 2/3 tablespoons of olive oil in deep roundo pan. Add half of basil, garlic and red pepper flakes. When the tomatoes are cooked, start the pasta: Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook until al dente.
- At the same time, scrape the cooked tomatoes with any juices into the skillet. Crush tomatoes and garlic with a fork. Season with the red pepper flakes, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook gently until the tomatoes release their juices and the mixture reduces slightly, 3 to 4 minutes.
- When the pasta is nearly cooked, scoop out about one cup of the pasta cooking water. Set aside. Then drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the tomato mixture. Add enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to create a saucy consistency and cook 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring, to allow the pasta to absorb the flavors.
- Divide the pasta and sauce among four deep plates. Top each with stracciatella over the top of each plate of pasta. Garnish each plate with remaining basil.
- Optional: Add my meatballs for a little more substance!