Sunday, January 19, 2014

Garlic Linguine with Fresh Tomato and Basil


I'm mentally marching full steam ahead into spring, regardless of what the weather app says.  The year is being measured out in airfare miles and adventures, the first of which is a trip to Dallas in mid-February for a friend's baby shower, followed by spring break in Rome with Garrett.  We have tickets and a 50 square meter apartment off the Plaza Navona (twice as big as Paris!), and Garrett has also gotten hooked on Duolingo learning Italian.  That seems like all we need.

I've had the great joy of visiting Rome on two previous occasions with students, which means I don't feel I have anything really to plan as far as an agenda goes.  I'll just exist in Rome for a week, and eat a bunch of pasta, pizza, and gelato along the way.  Garrett, on the other hand, has never been to Italy so I'm sure that will take us around to the standard sites.  While the parallel experience of going to Paris made me most excited to show Garrett the physical beauty of the city, in Rome my anticipation lies in watching him eat his first bowl of fresh Italian pasta.  I know it seems difficult to imagine that the pasta is much better there, but it is.

This weekend we did start to think about places we might want to go for a day trip or two, which built up a craving for pasta.  Here was my attempt to embrace the texture and simplicity that marks a solid Italian bowl of pasta, as opposed to the mushy noodles we drown in oily red sauce in the States.  The dish is fresh, flavorful, light, and easy (taking only about 15 minutes from start to end).  As far as pasta goes, it's pretty guilt-free (just a hair above the 500-calorie mark) as long as you don't overdo it on portion size.  It takes just a few basic ingredients, and you can taste every single one of them in each bite.  Buon appetito.

Ingredients (makes 2 large servings):
  • 8 oz. linguine pasta
  • 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, large dice
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/8 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/8 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Bring  a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, thinly slice the garlic (you want about the thickness of a dime, about 1 millimeter).  
Prepare the remaining ingredients as you wait for the water to boil - chopping the tomatoes, parsley, and basil.
When the water is boiling and you've added the pasta, you can begin to cook the garlic.  Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large pan, and cook the garlic until soft and slightly golden, about 4 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook for just a minute or two, as you want them to hold their shape.  Lightly salt as it cooks.
Your pasta should be about halfway cooked.  Turn the pan to high heat and add the pasta right from the pot (don't drain the pasta fist).  You'll continue to cook the pasta in the garlic, oil, and tomatoes until it is al dente.

As it cooks, ladle in some pasta water every minute or so.  I used a total of four ladles of pasta water, cooking the pasta in the pan for an additional 4-5 minutes.  When al dente, remove from the heat and toss in the parsley, basil, and lemon juice.  Add salt, if desired.
Serve immediately, garnished with additional parsley or basil on top. 


  1. Hi Jenessa - this looks delicious, just the kind of simple pasta dish I love. And I'm also learning Duolingo Italian! I'm up to food, fittingly. Thanks for the link to my blog. Sarah x.

    1. You're very welcome, Sarah! I love your blog, and I can't wait to try the dishes from your Middle Eastern feast....that's my favorite!

  2. Awesome,light,healthy & simple.. Thank you...

  3. this looks awesome! do u know the nutritional value? i wanna present this for my class