No discussion of Italian cuisine can bypass this most classic of dishes. Spaghetti al Pomodoro is quite possibly the most beloved dish of Italians. It’s served for lunch. It’s served on Sundays. It’s one of every Italian child’s first pasta dishes. It is sweet and savory. It has texture and bite. And, above all, it is a true staple of basic Italian cooking. Spaghetti with tomato sauce is simple and yet requires great care to its ingredients and preparation. This is a country where basic food gets turned into something extraordinary because of a true love and appreciation for the food itself. No need to complicate. No need to add artificial flavors and colors. Food is genuine and served to bring out its natural goodness.
Two-starred Michelin chef Gennaro Esposito knows that Spaghetti al Pomodoro requires attention to the preparation and excellent raw materials. Follow along for his hints on making this iconic first course.
“Our work begins even before the tomato, with the plant,” explains chef Gennaro Esposito. “In a dish that may be traditional but does not have a codified recipe, everyone is free to use the pasta and tomatoes they prefer. But since I live in a suitable place, I choose the variety of tomatoes from the volcano, which grow in a soil that is practically ash, because it is made of lava minerals, with fabulous drainage, which allows for very little water and creates an extreme concentration of flavor, for tomatoes that are truly rich in minerals.”
For a good result, it’s paramount to use tomatoes that are full of bright fresh flavors and extremely fresh.
Ingredients for four people:
Spaghetti: 320 g
Extra virgin olive oil: 25 g
Fresh (volcanic) tomatoes: 1 package
Garlic clove: 1
Sprig of basil: 1
Salt: to taste
In a frying pan, brown the garlic with the extra virgin olive oil and remove it once it has become brown. Next, add the sprig of basil and cook for a few seconds, taking care to remove it before it turns black. Add the tomatoes, simmer for about five minutes and add salt to taste. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted water, drain while still al dente, and transfer to the pan. With the help of a wooden spoon, crush the cherry tomatoes, stir for a few minutes and serve.
Composition of the dish:
Wrap the spaghetti into a nest and arrange it in the center of the plate. Top with a leaf of fresh basil and serve.