Yay for simple pasta dishes. We have a few recipes for such dishes, and most of them feature tomatoes in some form. Tomatoes are so easy to chop and add to pasta with some olive oil, garlic and basil. A bit of parmesan. And a tasty dish is born.
While the base ingredients are almost the same in the simple dishes, the way they are treated will vary, and that changes the dish. This recipe uses those base ingredients but they are chopped finely to make a sort of uncooked sauce. It is mixed with ricotta and left for an hour for the flavours to develop. Easy. Good.
This dish goes well with any pasta, really. Use short ones, curly ones or long strands. Spaghetti and bucatini are particularly good, and I love it with Penne. It is best made in Summer, or early Autumn, when our Australian tomatoes are at their best.
And why not make your own Pasta? How to Make Eggless Pasta.
Pasta alla Crudaiola | Pasta with a Raw Tomato Sauce
ingredients for 2
200 g spaghetti or other pasta
500g tomatoes – plum tomatoes are good
bunch of fresh basil leaves (or green herbs if basil is not available)
1 garlic clove, crushed
5 Tblsp olive oil
115 g ricotta salata (firm ricotta), diced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
coarsely shaved or grated Pecorino cheese, for serving
Roughly chop the tomatoes, removing the cores and most of the seeds. Tear the basil into shreds.
Put all of the ingredients except the pecorino into a bowl and season with a little sea salt and black pepper. Remember that the pasta will be cooked in salted water, so don’t overdo the salt. Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature for 1 – 2 hours to allow the flavours to mingle.
After an hour or so, cook the pasta in well salted, boiling water according to its instructions until al dente. It takes about 10 or 11 minutes but depends on the brand.
When the pasta is cooked, take 0.25 cup of the cooking water and pour over the tomato mixture. Drain the pasta well and toss with the tomato mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve immediately sprinkle with the grated Pecorino.
recipe notes and alternatives
Ricotta Salata is a salted and dried version of ricotta, firmer than the traditional soft white ricotta. It can easily be diced, crumbled or grated. It is from the Pecorino family, and is versatile. As it can be grated or crumbled, try it on salad, pasta, pizza, roasted vegetables and beans, grilled fruit. It can also be served with a platter of raw vegetables and olives, and it works well served cubed as a table cheese or as part of an antipasto platter.
If you can’t find Ricotta Salata, use young, soft pecorino, or a good feta. The Greek cheese Mizithra is also a decent substitute.
This pasta dish is also very good with tender celery or lovage leaves instead of basil. Broad leafed parsley can also be used.