It’s the last days of summer. Friends are returning from holidays, shopping has started for school shoes and the days are getting shorter. Tomatoes, aubergines, peaches, plums, nectarines are at their peak. There is nothing better than the fragrance of a ripe tomato, one that lingers on your fingers after you have touched it. Knives slice through like cutting pats of butter. These are fragile treasures which must be coddled in shredded paper as their thin skins are easily pierced and their delicate flesh prone to bruising.
Sometimes tomato-based salads become boring and while the hot weather makes one scream for fresh, raw fruit and vegetables, deep in your soul you still want to eat pasta. Pasta alla checca is just the dish for you. It’s simple to make and is the closest authentic approximation to mixing salad with pasta. It takes no time at all to make and places the perfectly ripe tomato in the spotlight, where it belongs.
Pasta alla checca (pasta with fresh tomatoes) – Lazio
You can also add small balls of fresh mozzarella at the end if you like. For step-by-step illustrated instructions, click here.
500 grams tomatoes, ripe but not mushy, rinsed, stem removed and cut into 2 cm cubes
1 clove garlic, crushed, skin removed
2 sprigs basil, rinsed, dried, leaves removed and finely sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil
350 grams spaghetti
Black pepper, freshly ground
Place the tomatoes, garlic, basil, 75 mls olive oil and a large pinch of both salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Mix the ingredients together, cover the bowl and let sit for at least an hour or up to 6 hours (if you are in a hurry, then you don’t need to let it sit).
Add 6 litres of water and 60 grams of salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the water and stir to ensure it is not sticking together.
Place the bowl of tomatoes on top of the pot of water while the pasta cooks.Cook for the time indicated on the pasta packaging.
Add the pasta to the tomatoes and stir to mix.
Divide into 4 bowls and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Serve.
What is your favourite refreshing summer dish?