Sweet cherry tomatoes and tangy, herbal gremolata combine with a flavorful tomato sauce in this classic pasta dish. Topped with some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, it makes for a wonderful main course for lunch or first course for dinner.
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Thoroughly rinse the citrus under warm water, and the parsley under cold water. Zest the lemon, lime, and orange into the small mixing bowl and set aside. Next, chop the parsley finely and add it to the bowl of zest and mix everything thoroughly. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart saucepot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic, and season with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sweat until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5-10 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, basil, bay leaf, and red-wine vinegar. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and reduce the heat to low. Let the tomato sauce cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Remove the sauce from the heat and season with more salt, pepper, or red-wine vinegar, to taste. Finish with the teaspoon of unsalted butter and swirl gently. Set aside.
Combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, pinch of salt, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a sauté pan. Swirling the pan in a circular motion over medium heat, gently warm the tomatoes. After about 3 minutes, turn off the heat and let the tomatoes sit to marinate.
In an 8-quart pot, bring 1 gallon water to a boil over high heat then season with the remaining salt. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions or until al dente. Meanwhile, gently reheat the tomato sauce over medium heat and add a ladle of pasta water.
When the spaghetti is al dente, strain it through a colander and add it to the pot of sauce. Toss the pasta thoroughly with the tongs to evenly dress the noodles and top with the remaining olive oil to finish.
Divide the spaghetti up evenly into 4 servings, using tongs to create a nest in the center of the plate. Top off each nest with the marinated cherry tomatoes, gremolata, cheese, and a little olive oil.