Culture: Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil | Wine Enthusiast
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Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Courtesy Michael Lomonaco, chef/owner, Porter House New York, New York City

Boiling pasta in less water than you think (about 8 cups) gives you extra-starchy pasta water that makes a richer sauce. Use the ripest tomatoes possible for this recipe.


3 large heirloom tomatoes, peeled* and chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 ounces dried penne pasta
10 large basil leaves, torn
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese
Fresh-ground pepper


In large serving bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil and red pepper flakes. Cook pasta in well-salted water according to package directions. When done, reserve one cup of pasta water, and drain pasta.

Pour hot pasta in bowl with tomatoes, add half reserved pasta water, and mix well. If pasta seems dry, add more pasta water to achieve desired sauce consistency.

Just before serving, toss in basil, pine nuts and cheese. Add salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste. Serves 4.

*Cut a small, shallow “X” in base of each tomato. Place in boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer to bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel skin away starting at “X.”

Wine Pairing

“I like a crisp and herbaceous Arneis for this pasta,” says Lomonaco, who recommends Ceretto Blangé from the Langhe or Vietti from Roero. “They’re a perfect foil for the fresh tomatoes, with scents of white grapefruit and apple, and a smokiness that balances the acidity of the tomato.”

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