Simple tomato pasta is given a flavor boost by charring. Alpeppo pepper, a sort of Turkish chili powder adds even more punch with a bit of heat and even the tang of something slightly sour.
- 8 ounce spaghetti, tagliarini, or perciatelli pasta
- 3 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 4 clove garlic, sliced paper thin
- 1 teaspoon ground aleppo pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 pound whole cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and thoroughly dried
- 1 tablespoon pomegrantate molasses
- ⅓ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 handful fresh basil or italian parsley leaves, thinly sliced
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup pasta water and drain pasta.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a heavy-bottomed large skillet over high heat until wisps of smoke come off the pan. Add garlic, Aleppo pepper, and thyme, and cook for a few seconds until just fragrant. Add tomatoes, stir to coat in oil, then cook, swirling occasionally, until tomatoes charred and about to burst, about 4 minutes. Immediately remove from heat, add drained pasta, pomegranate molasses, ¼ cup of the pasta water, stir to coat, taste, and add salt or sugar as desired. Add remaining pasta water, as needed, so that the sauce delicately coats each strand of pasta.
Stir in remaining 1 tbsp of the oil, walnuts, and basil or parsley and toss to coat the pasta. Taste, add more salt and Aleppo pepper as desired and serve immediately.