Imagine a good plate of spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce, garnished by a generous handful of grated Parmigiano… ah, if this isn’t the epitome of Italian comfort food! Simple yet delicious.
The best tomatoes to make sauce with are the smaller cultivars, those that you can buy still attached to their vine: cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, piccadilly tomatoes, Roma tomatoes… there are so many different kinds that is almost hard to choose only one. Our absolute favourite is the ‘Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio’, a cultivar of tomatoes from around Naples, in southern Italy. This tomato variety was selected because its thick skin makes it possible to keep it fresh for months at end, allowing for a constant supply of fresh tomato sauce to be used on pizza.
Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 60 mins
- Piennolo or Cherry or plum tomatoes, fresh: 800 g
- Spaghetti or artisanal-pasta: 380 g
- extra-virgin-olive-oil: 30 ml
- Basil, fresh: 4-5 leaves
- Garlic: 1 clove
- Parmigiano, grated: to taste
- A piece of carrot (about 4 cm)
Wash the tomatoes and cut a shallow X on each tomato with a knife. Bring a pot of water to the boil and blanch them for 2-3 minutes.
Remove them from the water and leave them to cool in a bowl filled with ice cubes or under cold running water. Peel the tomatoes and because of the way you cut off the skin before blanching them, they will peel easily. Mash them with a fork.
Coarsely chop the basil leaves and leave a few whole ones for garnish at the end.
Peel the garlic and brown it in a pan with olive oil. Add the crushed tomatoes and chopped basil, cook over a low heat for about an hour, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tip: When picked in season, fresh and perfectly ripened tomatoes usually taste perfect just as they are. Should your sauce taste too acidic, however, you can add a piece of carrot or pumpkin, which will release its naturally sweet flavour and counteract the acidity of the tomatoes.
Turn off the heat and leave the tomato sauce to cool down slightly.
Bring salted water to the boil, throw in the spaghetti and drain al dente.
Add them to the tomato sauce and stir, then garnish each plate with a few fresh basil leaves and a handful of grated Parmigiano.