The first time I tried a tomato basil pasta was when I was much younger, at the Cheesecake Factory. From the first time I tried it, I was hooked, and haven't ordered much else off of that menu whenever I find my way back there. It has been a few years since I've been back there, and I haven't been able to find a comparable tomato basil pasta dish since, so I endeavored to make our own version. After some experimentation, I took some of the key ingredients and created an adaptation that I honestly think is just as delicious as the version at the Cheesecake Factory that I loved so much! This recipe was created with quite a bit of nostalgia and a lot of love--I hope you'll enjoy making it as much as I did!
What you'll need:2 cups bow-tie pasta (measured dry)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 handful mild microgreen mix
1 cup strained tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried basil & dried oregano
1/2 cup diced mozzarella
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
These ingredients make about 4 servings, so feel free to adjust based on how many people you are cooking for!
A few simple steps:
Begin by cooking the pasta according to the directions on the package (adding about a 1/2 tsp of salt to the water for a better flavor). While that's going on, you can work on prepping the other veggies. Begin by dicing the shallots (or at least doing a rough chop, and keep those separate from the rest of the veggies. Dice the tomato into a bowl and add in the microgreens and garlic, finely minced. You can add in the mozzarella too at this point (it should be diced as well) and keep this whole mixture to the side.
Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet for about a minute, then add in the chopped shallots. Allow them to cook, stirring well every now and then, until fragrant (about 4 minutes). Add in the strained tomatoes and the mixture of other veggies that was set to the side earlier. Allow this mixture to cook (preferably covered) for 3-5 minutes. At this point, the pasta should be fully cooked and drained so that it can also be added to the skillet. Add in the salt, two herbs, and crushed red pepper as well, and allow it all to simmer in the pan for another 3 minutes. You want the fresh tomatoes to be slightly mushier, but don't cook so long that they completely lose their shape! They should still be firm enough to hold together. This dish is best served hot (although it will keep up to a few days when refrigerated in a covered container). If you're looking to add some protein, chicken breasts are a great complement to this meal. Often for larger groups we like to add the chicken just to make the meal a little heartier, but that's all based on your own personal preferences as the chef!