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Food & Drink


I’m going to take a vacation! That’s why I’ve got thousands of things to accomplish before leaving, and I don’t have time to cook something complicated. So, whether you’re amidst the chaos of your pre-vacation or is already chaotic enough, You’ll be awed by the simple nature of this fresh Tomato Basil Pasta with Ricotta since pasta doesn’t need to contain many ingredients to be delicious. A few new flavors, and you’re good to go.


Indeed, I’m not a big fan of this ingredient since it’s one of the more expensive products in the produce section, and I’ll explain. Though I did purchase one clamshell this time (organic and no less), I’m sure there are many of you with basil plants or have friends who have basil plants. You could probably find fresh basil for almost nothing. Indeed, my local grocery retailer often sells small basil plants at the exact cost as this container of basil sprigs. Get your plant if you have a place to put it! The gift keeps giving.


If you have other fresh tomatoes varieties, you can use them, but the smaller types like cherries or grapes tend to be a little more sour. However, you can bet that once my tomato plants begin producing, I’ll make the dish at least once a week using the size of tomatoes on the plant! Cut your tomatoes into 1-inch pieces before placing them in the pan.


12 oz. pasta (any shape) ($1.00)

Two tablespoons olive oil ($0.26)

Two cloves of garlic ($0.16)

2 pints grape tomatoes ($3.98)

1 TBSP butter ($0.13)

Fresh basil, 1/2 cup in loosely packed ($2.49)

1/2 cup of whole milk Ricotta ($0.57)

Salt and pepper as desired ($0.10)


Make sure you bring a large pot of water up to the temperature for pasta. After boiling,, add the pasta, and let it cook until the pasta becomes tender. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta’s starchy liquid and then rinse the pasta by putting it in a colander.

While the pasta cooks while the pasta is cooking, you can prepare the rest of the dish. Cut the grape tomatoes in half, then cut them into slices or chops of the basil. Cut the garlic into small pieces.

Pour the olive oil into the skillet of a large size and place it at medium temperature. When it is hot, add the garlic and cook for a minute to get the raw edges off the garlic.

Incorporate the tomatoes from grapes as well as some salt into the pan. Mix to combine, and then cover the skillet. Let the tomatoes simmer for around 10 minutes while stirring frequently. Allow the tomato to simmer until they start falling apart and releasing their juices. The tomatoes should only begin losing shape, and their skins may appear slightly wrinkled.

Then turn off the flame and add butter for the majority of the fresh basil (save some for garnish) and at least one freshly cracked pepper. Make sure to stir until the butter has melted, then taste and adjust the pepper and salt according to your preference. You’ll want it to be a little salty, as the saltiness will decrease somewhat once it’s mixed with the cooked pasta.

Add the cooked and rinsed pasta to the bowl and stir it to mix the pasta into tomato sauce. Add an extra splash or two of the water you’ve reserved when the pasta is dry.

Add portions of Ricotta and sprinkle with more pepper and any remaining basil. Serve!

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Joseph M. Kay

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