Recently I've had a yen for really simple Italian home food. In the last few weeks, I've been making simple lunches with bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil (best trick ever), salami, cherry tomatoes and cheese - a lunch that brings Italy and Melbourne back to me in equal measure.
Dinners at home have been equally simple. Mr Grey and I have made this pasta twice already and because it is so criminally fast and easy, it
Spaghetti al pomodoro is a classic and easy Italian dish. There are a few variations of it but all of them will call for the unbeatable trifecta of good tomatoes, olive oil and garlic. The recipe below is my favourite kind: a recipe that is not really a recipe. I adapted it from here
Spaghetti al pomodoro (for two)
extra virgin olive oil q.b
2 cloves of garlic (smashed and peeled)
250 - 300g cherry tomatoes
a few leaves of fresh basil
enough spaghetti for two people
Boil the spaghetti in salted water.
Warm the olive oil in a large saute pan. Make sure you use a fairly large amount of olive oil. Fry the garlic gently in the oil until golden but do not allow garlic to brown.
Halve the tomatoes and add them to the pan with a pinch of salt. When the tomatoes start to soften, use a spatula or wooden spoon to squash them so that their juices run into the garlicky olive oil. Add basil and cook for a few more minutes. Lower the flame.
Once pasta is al dente, drain and add to the tomato pan. Remember to reserve some of the pasta cooking water.
Mix the pasta together with the oil and tomato juices, add a little pasta water if the mixture seems dry. Serve immediately.
This can be eaten with parmesan cheese or without. If using parmesan, add it to the last step and stir.
Roasted tomato variation here.
P.S. Do not use store bought sliced bread when making that sandwich I described above. Use good bread in thick fat slices. Panini would work, focaccia already has olive oil in it so you could opt for less oil. The salami (so expensive, I know!) can be swapped for any kind of sausage or ham or simply omitted. It's painful, but simple meals like that only work when using excellent ingredients. I nearly always use my weekly splurge money on good tomatoes (and cheese) - tells you something about my priorities!