This pasta makes the most of the great, late summer tomatoes. It is a no frills, celebrate-the-tomato sort of pasta, focusing on just a few ingredients and making the most of their flavor: lots of olive oil, lots of garlic, some red pepper flakes for a tiny kick, and of course, a ton of juicy heirloom tomatoes. The cheese and butter at the end round out the flavor and balance the acidity of the tomatoes, making for an extremely comforting sauce.
The heirlooms are the stars here so the sun gold tomatoes are optional. I like adding them because they provide a little extra zhuzh and pop (plus they’re pretty) but they’re not necessary -the pasta is deliciously saucy and flavorful without them. If you can’t find heirlooms or just have other good tomatoes on hand, feel free to use those! Just make sure to use the same weight. You might also have to adjust the cook time of the sauce slightly based on the water content of whatever tomatoes you use. —Mia Wasserman
In a large skillet, add 2 tbsp of olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes over medium heat and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. You want the garlic to be very lightly golden – don’t let it burn.
Add the chopped tomatoes into the skillet with a big pinch of salt and pepper and another glug of olive oil (reserve sungold tomatoes until later, if using). Cook tomatoes on medium heat, uncovered, until they start to simmer and release some of their juices, and then add in the handful of fresh basil (reserving some for garnish). Continue to cook on medium heat for about 20-30 minutes until most of the water has cooked off and the sauce is reduced and starting to thicken (the amount of time will depend on how juicy your tomatoes are) .
While tomatoes are cooking, bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta until it is just under al dente (it will continue to cook in the sauce). Drain, reserving a half cup of pasta water, and set aside.
When the tomato sauce has reduced, add another glug of olive oil, a big pinch of salt and the sungold tomatoes if using and cook for a minute or two until the tomatoes are fully warmed through (some might have started to burst). Add the pasta, pasta water, parmesan and butter and toss consistently until the pasta water has absorbed and the parmesan and butter have melted into the sauce. Taste and add another pinch of salt if needed. Finish by drizzling with a little bit of olive oil and garnishing with remaining basil. Eat while hot!