Tomato Paste Pasta

Alternate title: “So you want to cook from my website and you don’t have a CSA share.”

We’ve talked about making tomato paste pasta sauce so many times during Pantry Raid the game now that I couldn’t not put it on my site. It’s the most simple and adding slow-cooked cherry tomatoes is totally optional, though highly recommended. This sauce is extra…saucy. You will definitely want to have some bread on hand to mop up what’s left on your plate when you’re done eating the pasta.

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Tomato Paste Pasta
-serves two

1/4 cup olive oil
5 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced (or more, if that’s the kind of human you are!)
optional: pinch red pepper flakes
kosher salt
2T tomato paste
4 ounces spaghetti or other long pasta*
at least 2T finely chopped herbs (pictured: chives)
shaved cheese such as pecorino
optional: slow-cooked cherry tomatoes
not optional: bread to mop up the extra sauce

1. Preheat the olive oil in a small pan over medium low, then fry the garlic with a pinch of salt and (a pinch of red pepper flakes if using) until golden brown. It will happen fast, so don’t walk away. Remove the crunchy garlic with a slotted spoon and reserve.
2. Add tomato paste to the oil and stir. It might look lumpy- that’s okay!
3. Cook pasta al dente and reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.
4. Drain pasta, then place it back in the pot with the tomato oil and pasta water, stirring frequently, until all the water has evaporated- about two minutes. Taste to see if it needs more salt, but remember the cheese is salty too.
5. Toss with herbs and tomatoes. Serve immediately topped with shaved cheese and crispy garlic.

* Technically you can use up to six ounces pasta and you won’t have as much sauce to mop up. But who doesn’t want a big hunk of bread soaked in sauce for dessert? CRAZY PEOPLE, THAT’S WHO.