4ouncesdried spaghettipreferably a bronze-extruded brand like Rustichella or Masciarelli
3ouncesmilkweed podsleft whole if under 1 inch, cut into 1/2 inch pieces if larger
1/2tablespoonthinly sliced garlic
1/4cupcooking oil or lard
Kosher saltto taste
Crushed red pepper flakesto taste
Fresh torn basilto taste
2cupschopped heirloom tomatoesor a mix of large and small heirloom cherry tomatoes (pictured)
Extra virgin olive oilto taste, for finishing
Grated parmesan for servingoptional (not pictured)
Bring a gallon of salted water to boil, it should taste like the sea.
Meanwhile, in a ten inch saute pan (or cast iron pan) warm the 1/4 cup of cooking oil with the garlic. Cook the garlic until it turns light brown and aromatic, then add the sliced and whole milkweed pods and cook, reducing the heat if needed to prevent the garlic from burning, until the pods are just tender and bright green.
Season the mixture with salt and pepper, then add the tomatoes, crushed red pepper and cook for a few minute more. When the pasta is just al dente, remove from the water and add to the pan with the garlic and milkweed pods, then toss, adding the extra virgin olive oil to taste.
If the tomatoes have given off a lot of juice, continue cooking, tossing the pasta occasionally to coat with the sauce.
Double check the seasoning for salt and pepper, finally toss in the basil, continue tasting until you're satisfied, then divide equally between two pre-warmed entree bowls and serve immediately, with extra olive oil or cheese for garnishing.