This is a simple, delicious pasta dish that we first sampled on our recent trip to Puglia. The kitchen was open and directly in front of our table so we watched as the chef put this dish together step by step. When we finally sampled the pasta we were amazed at just how tasty it was and I vowed to make it for my husband when we returned home.
Tomatoes of every description are available locally at this time, and I decided to use cherry tomatoes rather than the chopped plum tomatoes the chef in Puglia used. It is best to prepare the tomatoes a couple of hours before you cook your pasta as the tomatoes will break down a bit, releasing their juices which helps to create a sauce. You can use any firm Italian cheese that you prefer, but I used a nice Pecorino Romano in my dish. This dish works best if the cheese is freshly grated using a box grater so when the small slivers of cheese meet the hot pasta they melt into the pasta. Be sure to taste the pasta before adding salt as the cheese is fairly salty on it’s own.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 1 Pound Orecchiette Pasta
- 2 Pints Ripe Cherry Tomatoes (Or About 3 Cups Ripe Plum Chopped Tomatoes)
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Sea Salt
- Cracked Black Pepper
- Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil, Finely Chopped
- 3 Cups Freshly Grated Pecorino Cheese
- Cut the tomatoes into quarters, and mix with the garlic, olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and fresh basil in a bowl.
- Let rest for at least two hours before you are ready to cook the pasta.
- Cook the orecchiette in a large pot of boiling water until it is al dente.
- Drain, keeping a small cup of the pasta water.
- Mix the tomatoes and cheese into the pasta, tossing to combine.
- Add a little of the pasta water if the pasta seems dry and mix well.
- Taste, and season with additional salt if needed and additional cracked black pepper.
- Serve hot.