1. Blanch, peel and seed the tomatoes. Cut into 1/4 inch dice. Drain in a sieve, pressing lightly to remove excess moisture.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, if using, and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Carefully stir in the diced tomatoes. Heat to boiling. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in salt and pepper, to taste, cover the pan and simmer until just enough liquid is extracted to cover the diced tomatoes, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the basil and remove from the heat. (The sauce will improve greatly if allowed to stand at room temperature 1 to 2 hours before serving.)
4. To serve, warm the appropriate amount of sauce in a large skillet over low heat while the pasta is cooking. Adjust the seasoning. Just before draining the pasta, ladle one tablespoon pasta cooking liquid per serving into the skillet. Drain the pasta thoroughly, add to the skillet and toss to coat. Divide among warmed serving plates, passing grated Parmesan or Romano cheese separately. Makes 2 1/2 cups
Per Serving: 147 Calories (81.3% from fat); 14g Fat (2g Sat, 10g Mono, 1g Poly); 1g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 278mg Sodium. Food Exchanges: 1 Vegetable; 2 1/2 Fat.