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Tomato and Herb Pasta


Submitted By:

    - 4 ounces dried spaghetti or pasta noodles of your choice
    - 3 cups cherry tomatoes
    - 2 cups baby spinach roughly chopped
    - 1 bunch basil leaves about 10 to 12 leaves; roughly chopped
    - 4 garlic cloves very thinly sliced
    - 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    - 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    - 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    - 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
    - 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
    - 1 red chili pepper deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
    - extra virgin olive oil for frying

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and reserve 3/4 cups of pasta water.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
3. Add the garlic, and gently sauté for about a minute or two, until the garlic is just beginning to color (being careful to not let burn). Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt and black pepper. Cook tomatoes for about 3-4 minutes until juices start to burst. Add the chopped chili pepper and cook for another minute or two until slightly softened.
4. Add the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water little by little until pasta is well coated. and consistency is reached (I used a little more than 1/2 a cup). Allow to simmer for about a minute then add the red chili pepper flakes, chopped spinach, basil and Parmesan cheese. Turn heat to low and gently toss to coat evenly. Add more pasta water if needed. Remove from heat.
5. Season more to taste if desired and serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

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