One of the cooler things about shopping at the Greenmarket week after week is that you develop relationships with the vendors. A classic example is the group of women who run the Knoll Crest poultry stand, by far the market's most popular destination for eggs and chicken. They know most of their customers by looks, and some by name. They know that I always want a chicken, that 3 pounds is my ideal chicken size, and that I buy a dozen large brown eggs every other week or so.
They also know that, every now and again, I'll give in to temptation and pick up a container of their remarkably fresh egg fettuccine.
I did just that this past Saturday, reasoning that the tomatoes I'd bought a few stands over deserved a gorgeous bed upon which to recline. Or some such thing. Basically, I really wanted pasta with a quick tomato sauce for lunch.
When I got home, I washed my tomatoes, picked some basil from my windowsill plant, and sliced a couple of cloves of garlic. A little olive oil went into the skillet, then the garlic and red pepper flakes, then the tomatoes and basil.
While that cooked for a minute or two (just to warm the tomatoes through and get the basil working), I quickly cooked the pasta in boiling, salted water - since it was fresh, it took about 90 seconds to cook completely through to al dente. I added the fettuccine to the skillet, whooshed everything around for a few minutes, tasted for seasoning (tomatoes like a good amount of salt, in my opinion), and spooned it out.
The pasta was great - toothsome and flavorful, and the sauce was just what I wanted - simple and honest, just tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper. My lunches are rarely so satisfying - so, thank you, Knoll Crest Farm, for being so darn friendly, and for making such fricking awesome pasta.
Saturday Lunch Pasta
2 tsps. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced (thinly) crosswise
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
4-5 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 lb. fresh egg pasta, such as fettuccine or linguine
Salt, to taste
Add the olive oil to a medium skillet set over medium heat, and, once it is warm, add the garlic to the pan. Sauté until fragrant and softened, about one minute, then add the red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for a minute or two, stirring constantly, then add 2/3 of the sliced basil, stirring to distribute throughout the sauce.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of boiling, salted water until al dente (about 1-2 minutes for fresh pasta). Drain and add the pasta to the skillet, stirring to distribute the sauce evenly throughout the pasta. Allow to cook in the skillet for a minute, stirring occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking - this will flavor the pasta more deeply - then transfer to a bowl.
Adjust seasonings, top with remaining basil, and eat!
Serves one; multiplies easily to serve many.