If you think that buying a ready made pasta sauce is the right way to treat your pasta, you’re far, extremely far from cooking a real Italian dish. Italian food is all about freshness of a few ingredients: I must have written it in my blog a thousand times!

I’m usually very enthusiastic about presenting my pasta dishes, a sort of signature roots to me. This time I am even more excited: this is a fresh cherry tomato sauce cooked by my mum in Naples. And – no doubt – it is the best pasta sauce I’ve tasted in years, with richness and depth of flavor delivered by only 4 ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil. Parmesan cheese finishes off this fragrant topping which is perfect to saute’ Penne or Spaghetti.

tomato-0020In Campania, my region, we are delighted by a tomato called “Piennolo”, a variety grown in the municipalities of the Vesuvius area that has been awarded with the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).

Piennolo, means “pendulum” in our regional dialect, a term used to point to the custom, still in use today, to preserve tomatoes hanging on the exterior walls of our houses, so that the flavors of tomatoes can stay crisp and fresh for longer. Piccadilly and San Marzano tomatoes are other excellent varieties but Piennolo is probably my favorite one.

BASILIf you’re lucky to put your hands on these unblemished, firm and bright red tomatoes picked at the peak of their freshness, nothing stands in between you and the secrets to the Italian cuisine. Tasting is believing.

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Piennolo Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • 600 gr. Fresh Piennolo tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Instructions

  • To make the garlic-flavored olive oil saute' the garlic clove in olive oil for 2-4 mins. The clove must be blonde and give off a nice scent.
  • Add a few leaves of basil before adding the unpeeled tomatoes cut in half.
  • Cook just long enough for the tomatoes to bring out their juice. Remove the garlic clove and set the sauce aside.
  • Boil the pasta, drain and pour it into the mixing bowl with the tomato sauce.
  • Serve with lots of fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

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  1. I made a very similar dish yesterday but used ravioli as the pasta. I would love to try some of those tomatoes some day when I return to Campania.