- 1/4+ c. extra virgin
- 2 large or 4 small tomatoes (Romas are great, but any tomato works) and pepper to taste
- 1/2 lb. fettuccine, cooked to package directions
- 1/4+ c. fresh basil, sliced thinly
- 1–2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1–2 c. shredded mozzarella (or any white cheese)
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Put the water on to boil for the pasta while you warm the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet (I like cast iron). Chop the tomatoes and add to the warm oil, reserving about 1/4 to put on the top fresh. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. I like freshly ground pepper myself.
- Mince/crush the garlic and set aside for at least five minutes to allow the allicin to develop for maximum nutrition. (Allicin is an antibacterial agent, best consumed raw, but still has health benefits cooked.) While your pasta is cooking and tomatoes are warming, wash, slice or chop fresh basil until you have at least 1/4 cup. More never hurt! Your goal is to add the garlic and basil more or less at the end of the cooking so they just get an impression of warmth, but not more than a minute on the heat. I usually add both just as the timer beeps for the pasta, then drain the pasta and return to the pot. Give the tomato/oil/garlic/basic a good stir and turn off the heat.
- Mix the pasta with the tomato mixture, either in one pot or the other or in a large serving bowl. Add shredded cheese immediately and stir well so that it melts. I usually use mozzarella, but I tried Fol Epi when I had a sample from Ile de France Cheese. Excellent. It wasn’t even shredded, just in small cubes.
- Top with fresh tomatoes and additional fresh basil for presentation and added flavor. Parmesan cheese is optional but delicious. Sometimes an extra generous drizzle of olive oil makes it just right.