1) Put all but 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and all the garlic in a large skillet over a medium-high heat and cook until the garlic begins to sizzle.
2) Add the tomatoes as soon as the garlic begins to change color. If using fresh tomatoes, you’ll notice they give off a fair amount of liquid. When the liquid begins to reduce, season with salt. If using canned tomatoes, season with salt in the beginning. Continue cooking over a medium-high heat until the tomatoes have reduced and separated from the oil: 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the skillet.
3) While the sauce is cooking, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan or pot.
4) When the sauce has reduced, add the torn basil leaves and the optional pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.
5) Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the boiling water in the saucepan. Drop in the pasta, stirring until the strands are submerged. When cooked al dente, drain and toss with the sauce in the skillet, adding the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Taste for salt and serve at once.