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Author Notes: I love yellow tomatoes for their sweetness and the lack of acidity. The heavy cream, sweet basil and mild ricotta salata further accentuate this note. Beware -- the fried basil leaves are a delicacy on their own! You may want to fry a handful or two extra and pass a bowl of them around the table as a bonus dish.
Makes 4 first course servings
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds ripe yellow tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon basil leaves, shredded
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- salt, pepper
- 1/2 pound capellini or angel hair pasta
- 2 ounces shaved ricotta salata
- 4 tablespoons extra light olive oil, or any other oil suitable for frying
- A handful of small basil leaves (app 30-40 leaves, ideally from a small-leaf variety such as Greek basil, otherwise, use the leaves from the very top of the stem)
- In a large saucepan heat the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes with their juices. Stir in the sugar and shredded basil, season with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and is reduced to 3 cups, about 35 minutes. Add the heavy cream and simmer for another 5-10min. Season again with salt and a sprinkle of pepper.
- In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot, and add the sauce and reserved cooking water.
- Transfer the pasta to individual bowls and sprinkle with shaved ricotta.
- In a small skillet heat the frying oil on medium heat, until almost smoking. Add the basil leaves -- the leaves will turn brilliant green and crisp in seconds. Lift them gently with a fork or a slotted spoon and place on top of the dish. Serve immediately.