- 200g dried penne pasta (50g per person as a basic rule of thumb)
- 500g of cherry tomatoes
- 1tbsp balsamic drizzle (read below for how to make it)
- Garlic oil (read below for how to make your own)
- Pinch of smoked salt
- Pinch of sugar
- One large shallot
- Knob of butter
- Small bunch of fresh basil
- 3 tbsp of good quality single cream
- Begin by slicing your cherry tomatoes in half and placing them in a pan, covered on a low heat and cook through for a few minutes until they have softened and the juice has just started to simmer.
- Remove from the heat and mix in a generous glug of garlic oil, the smoked salt, sugar and the balsamic drizzle, cover and leave.
- Next pop your pot of water on to heat up for the pasta.
- Now finely chop your shallot and fry on a medium heat in the knob of butter, until they become soft and translucent.
- Remove from the heat and now your water should be ready, so pop your pasta in, with a pinch of salt should you wish. We like ours done just past al dente, so that’s around the 10-12 minute mark, depending on your pasta. The delicious penne pasta available from My Farm Shop is good after 10 minutes, but test to ensure that it is perfect for you.
- Whilst waiting for the pasta to cook, pop the cooked shallot in with the tomatoes and blend until smooth, a hand held blender is great for this.
- Chop your basil up with a rocky chopper. You haven’t got a rocky chopper? Get one! Oh, ok, a knife is fine.
- Mix the chopped basil and the cream in with the tomato sauce with a spoon and now your pasta should be ready.
- Drain the pasta and either serve mixed together in one big pot with the sauce, or portion out the pasta and ladle the sauce on top, add a little extra basil to garnish.
- You can sprinkle parmesan on top, however I prefer our Colliers mature cheddar, which has a wonderfully salty bite which compliments the sweetness of the sauce beautifully.
It is well worth getting a good quality pasta as you will notice the difference. And it does not have to be solely cherry tomatoes, they just tend to be a little sweeter so work well here, however larger tomatoes work well too, just add a tiny pinch extra of sugar.
I have included balsamic drizzle, instead of standard balsamic vinegar, as by reducing standard balsamic vinegar over heat, it becomes sweeter, stickier and not quite as fierce and acidic. However, balsamic vinegar works fine here too, the sauce just won’t taste as sweet, and you may taste the vinegar more.
I also state here garlic oil, which again is super simple to make. It helps to deliver the flavour of garlic, but subtly without the big punch. If you would prefer to chop a garlic clove and add to the shallot, then that works.
You can of course, use a white or red onion instead of the shallot, but shallots offer a much gentler flavour which works well here allowing the tomatoes to really take centre stage.
I tend to make the most of the season, and make several batches as the sauce freezes very well. However, pasta can sometimes become a little fluffy after freezing so I recommend cooking a fresh batch on the day to accompany your reheated sauce.