Sun-Kissed Cherry Tomato Sauce

I mentioned in my bio that I’m a recipe reading, cooking obsessed nerd and that even my vacations are centered around food and cooking. Well, a few years ago we were traveling in Italy and the first thing I did was enroll my daughter and I in a cooking class. We learned some new techniques but one thing that surprised me was the simplicity of their tomato sauce. They used fresh cherry tomatoes (picked from the garden outside of the restaurant), extra-virgin olive oil (which of course was made from their own olive groves), a small amount of garlic (they used a smashed whole clove and took it out at the end), fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese.  That’s it! It’s a light, summer sauce so it cooks in less than 20 minutes. This is my “go to” sauce when my husband’s tomatoes are in full swing, I use our Sun Gold tomatoes and this year, my husband grew some beautiful, striped plum tomatoes so I added them as well.

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Cherry Tomato Sauce

Cut about 2-3 pounds of cherry tomatoes in half. If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, substitute plum tomatoes. Saute a smashed garlic clove or two in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add tomatoes. Cook until some of the liquid evaporates and sauce reduces, about 20 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of chopped fresh basil, 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 5-10 minutes. Serve sauce over pasta with chopped basil.

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Nutrition Note: I love whole grains but I’m not a fan of whole wheat pasta. I prefer a good, semolina flour pasta (I like De Cecco because you can find it in any supermarket). The dietary guidelines recommend, for most adults, six grain servings a day (a serving is equal to ½ cup of cooked grains or 1 ounce of bread). Half of those six servings should be whole grain (that means at least 3 whole grain servings/day). Since I prefer regular pasta, I get my three servings of whole grains at other meals or snacks throughout the day. Note: For weight loss, I recommend decreasing the total number of grain servings per day and focusing mostly on whole grains. For an even lighter dish, you could omit the pasta altogether and serve this sauce over the zucchini slices (as pictured above).

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