I wrote this ages ago….
Are there foods or dishes that made such an impact on you, the very first taste stays with you forever? I was 25 when I first tasted basil. Wow. What a revelation. Not for the first time I regretted my parents’ decision that we weren’t to be raised in an Italian way. I was deprived of basil for TWENTY-FIVE years!! Not fair.
I ate this dish for about a week, breakfast, lunch, dinner. I could do that now. If only I didn’t have to go to the doctor tomorrow morning on an empty stomach. Sigh. 10am. I could be dead of starvation by then.
While the spaghetti is boiling:
Chop tomatoes into slivers, or perhaps small cubes.
Finely chop garlic.
Tear basil leaves with your hands.
All rests on the quality of the ingredients here. Sqiuishily soft, juicy, red as red can be tomatoes. I’ve got lots in the garden at the moment. Best garlic, straight from the ground. Basil that is not – on pain of something truly horrible happening to you, not – hydroponic. I promise, if you compromise here, you will go straight to hell. You won’t even get the chance to explain what on earth you were up to. You will be dispensed posthaste to an eternity in hell. You won’t even die first. You will have the rest of your life and then an eternity of death to ponder the inadequacy of that stuff called hydroponic basil. Ugghhhh.
You do not want to stew this, it’s a summer-sun-warm dish. Generous splash of best olive oil, gently heat to a moderate temperature and add the garlic. The merest hint it is overcooking and take it off the heat. Add tomatoes, heat tenderly. Take off the hotplate. When the spaghetti is close to ready, put sauce back on the heat, add basil, quickly drain spaghetti and toss through.
Serve with parmesan on the side as you might not even want this complication.
Black pepper? Only maybe.
Honestly. If you can’t get the very best of each ingredient for this, just don’t bother.
Oh, and guess what? You’ve become a vegetarian and you didn’t even notice.