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  1. SPAGHETTI WITH A BASIL AND RAW TOMATO SAUCE

    No fried olive oil, no nasty calories. This is my favourite spaghetti recipe for those hot summer days and evenings. You can only get it right if you live in the South and get local ripe tomatoes and have a basil plant in your front yard. The tomatoes should be nice and red and getting soft : Romano, Sorrento (I’ll research the names). A mix of different varieties is a sure way of getting a more complex tasting sauce.

    A few hours previously you should skin and de-seed the ripe tomatoes. Drop them in a pan of boiling water for a minute and take them out to cool off before slitting the skins with a sharp knife. Cut into segments and scrape out the seeds, getting rid of as much of the water around the seeds as you can. Throw the tomato bits into your final serving bowl. This is an easy, no-fuss recipe.
    Salt the tomatoes and pour over some olive oil to almost cover them. Grind some black pepper over the lot. Put the bowl in a cool place away from flies. Not the fridge, the tomatoes have to marinate. Turn them from time to time and you’ll see the bulk reduces and the olive oil now covers them.
    Fifteen minutes before you want to eat, put a big pan of water to boil and get lots of crinkly basil leaves that you will cut up with your kitchen scissors into your colander. Depending on the pasta your using, I like linguini or fresine, a kind of thicker fetticini or tagliatelli, when it’s cooked (not al dente) you’ll drain it through and onto the basil in the colander, “cooking“ the basil. Before all the water drains away, put the pan back under the colander to catch a cupfull of the hot water.
    Throw the hot pasta onto the tomatoes in the serving bowl. The heat will warm the tomatoes and your cupfull of hot pasta water will thicken the sauce as there’s the pasta starch. Stir before serving. Pull the basil bits apart as they have a tendency to clump together. Now you need a nice piece of Parmigiano Reggiano to grate over the individual servings. Go, go, go. A whirl of the black pepper mill.
    Buon appetito!

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