Simple can sometimes be so much more, and that’s definitely the case with this 15-minute Cherry Tomato Pasta with Spinach and Walnuts. Quick and easy to make it’s delicious as it is, and even better topped with a generous piece of mozzarella or burrata cheese.
I know, I know. Tomato pasta is the lazy, newbie vegetarian choice, the easy way out, the only slightly pimped up version of the cheapie college kid’s spaghetti and ketchup. But I still find myself cautiously eyeing the tomato sauces at every Italian restaurant I go to. I often go for something else in the end – a Truffled Macaroni, Penne with Red Wine & Tenderloin, Pasta Vongole… (Yes, it’s always pasta, that’s for sure) And the only reason being that I, too, have fallen in the trap of considering a simple pasta with tomato sauce exactly that – too SIMPLE.
But simple, simple can be the very best. While I seldom attest to the aphorism of “less is more” (currently eagerly awaiting colder weather and the return of the leopard faux fur coat!), I do believe that simple can be more. You just have to do it right.
I mean, what is a good tomato sauce, really? Oh, nothing special. Not at all. It’s just juicy, sweet tomatoes with just the right amount of acidity, heaps of fragrant basil, and just a hint of garlic – not enough to stay on your breath, but just enough to let you taste it. Best served with perfectly al dente pasta and maybe, maybe, some cheese on top.
I know I said simple can be more, and that’s true. But a little crunch never hurt somebody (unless you’re allergic to nuts – then please please please exclude the walnuts). Neither did hiding some spinach that really does nothing but provide a hint of flavor and lots of good vitamins. Or a juicy piece of mozzarella or burrata cheese, just saying.
And, just beacuse I’m a firm believer in everything small tasting about 1000000 times better than the same normal-sized thing (mini-cupcakes and sliders anyone??), I used a really fragrant type of cherry tomatoes (the kind I used is called Romantica, in Sweden at least) in place of normal-sized tomatoes.
And that’s about all you need to make this tomato pasta with spinach and walnuts. Delicate, sweet, juicy, cherry tomatoes, a few cloves of garlic, some olive oil, lots of fresh basil, maybe a tiny bit of sugar if your tomatoes aren’t sweet enough (Sweden in October? Yep, they needed sugar.), an even tinier bit of chili flakes to get just a hint of heat, a few handfuls of spinach (to make you strong!), some chopped walnuts and, if you like, a piece of mozzarella or burrata cheese (highly recommended!). Oh, and 15 minutes.
Let me know what you think! The easiest way to do this is to just leave a comment and/or a rating below.
And please tag me @alwaysusebutter if you post your creation somewhere, I love to see your versions!
15-minute Tomato Pasta with Spinach and Walnuts
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 400 g cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
- 10 g basil (half a pot)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and in one piece, but slightly crushed
- 1/8 tsp chili flakes
- 1 tsp sugar (can be omitted)
- 50 g spinach (preferably baby leaves)
- 50 g walnuts, chopped
- 2 portions pasta, cooked 1 minute less than instruction on package
- salt an fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 100 g mozzarella or burrata cheese, split in half (can be omitted)
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the crushed garlic cloves and let them cook until fragrant.
- Add in tomatoes, basil and chili flakes and cook for at least 5 minutes until saucy - cook longer if you like, just add some water so the sauce doesn't dry out.
- Taste test and add in the sugar if you want it sweeter, and cook for another minute.
- Remove the garlic cloves. Mix in the cooked pasta, followed by the spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted and pasta perfectly al dente.
- Mix in the chopped walnuts and taste test, adding salt and fresh ground black pepper as desired.
- Serve in two bowls and place half a piece of mozzarella or burrata cheese on top of each (can be omitted).