Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 garlic cloves, smashed
2½ lb. cherry tomatoes (about 4 pints)
2 large sprigs basil, plus 1 cup basil leaves, torn if large
¾ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
Pinch of sugar (optional)
12 oz. casarecce or other medium-size pasta
1 oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about Â½ cup), plus more for serving
Heat ½ cup oil in a large heavy pot over low. Add garlic and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes.
Increase heat to medium and add tomatoes, basil sprigs, red pepper flakes, and 1½ tsp. salt. Cook, stirring to coat, until some of the tomatoes begin to burst and release their juices, about 4 minutes. Smash some but not all of the tomatoes with the spoon to help release their liquid, then continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until a chunky, thickened sauce forms (about half the tomatoes should still be intact), 10-12 minutes. Taste and add sugar if sauce is too tart and add more salt if needed. Pluck out and discard basil sprigs.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
Drain pasta, add to pot with sauce, and cook, stirring, until coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 1 oz. Parmesan.
Divide pasta among bowls; drizzle with oil. Top with more Parmesan and 1 cup basil leaves.