Yes, I know I don’t often use this ingredient as it’s one of the more expensive products in the produce section, and I’ll explain. Although I did spend a bit on the smallest clamshell this time (organic and no less), I’m sure many of you own basil plants or have friends who have basil plants. You could probably find fresh basil for nearly no cost. Indeed, my local grocery shop often has little basil plants at the same cost as this small clamshell with basil sprigs. Get yourself plants if you’ve got an area to place it! It’s a gift that keeps giving.


Yes, if you’ve got other varieties of fresh tomatoes, you could use them, but the smaller types, like cherries or grapes, tend to be more sweet. But I’m betting that once my tomato plants begin producing, I’ll prepare the dish at minimum once a week, using whatever size tomatoes have fallen off the plant! Chop your tomatoes into one inch pieces before placing them in the pan.


12 oz. pasta (any shape) ($1.00)

Two tablespoons olive oil ($0.26)

Two cloves of garlic ($0.16)

2 pints grape tomatoes ($3.98)

1 Tbsp of butter ($0.13)

Fresh basil, 1/2 cup in loosely packaged ($2.49)

1/2 cup of whole milk Ricotta ($0.57)

Salt and pepper to your taste ($0.10)


Ensure you bring a large pot of water to the temperature to cook the pasta. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until it becomes tender. Reserving about 1 cup of the pasta’s starchy water. Then drain the pasta by putting it in a colander.

While the pasta cooks while the pasta is cooking, you can prepare the rest of the dish. Cut the grape tomatoes in half, then cut them into slices or chops of the basil. Slice the garlic.

Pour the olive oil into the skillet of a large size and place it at medium temperature. When it is hot, add the garlic and cook for a minute to remove the raw edges of the garlic.

Pour the tomato mixture, as well as some salt, into the saucepan. Stir until the tomatoes are well-integrated, and then put a lid over the skillet and let the tomatoes simmer for around 10 minutes, stirring now and then. The tomatoes should simmer long enough to fall apart and release their juices. The tomatoes should begin to lose their shape, and their skins will appear slightly wrinkled.

Then turn off the flame to add in the butter the bulk of the fresh basil (save some for garnish), as well as some freshly cracked black pepper. Mix until the butter has melted, then taste it and adjust the pepper and salt as necessary. It’s best to keep it slightly salty since the saltiness may diminish slightly after it’s cooked in the sauce.

Add the cooked and rinsed pasta, and stir it to cover the pasta with tomato sauce. Add an extra splash or two of the pasta water you’ve reserved if the pasta appears dry.

Add portions of Ricotta som,e more pepper, and any basil left over. Serve!