spaghetto combined with heirloom tomato salsa cruda


We had these three beautiful heirloom plum tomatoes on the windowsill, the last of a stock which had been the gift of a friend with a vegetable garden north of the city, and they were definitely all at the peak of their ripeness.  We already knew how perfectly delicious they were, so there wasn’t any question about cooking them, or burying them with a lot of other ingredients.

I decided pasta was the answer, a good artisanal pasta, with nothing other than these red beauties, their natural green condimento, basil, a bit of gently-crushed garlic, a pinch of Sicilian chili, and olive oil. Other than the spaghettone, all of the ingredients would remain uncooked, except to the extent they would be affected by the heat of the boiled and drained pasta.


  • three large, ripe heirloom plum tomatoes, from Lower Hayfields, a friend’s Hudson Valley garden, cut into rough chunks, placed in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of a decent olive oil, 3 lightly-crushed garlic cloves from Berried Treasures, about half of a cup of New York CIty basil from Gotham Greens via Whole Foods, and a prudent amount of crushed dried Sicilian pepperoncino from Buon Italia, stirred and allowed to sit while 8 ounces of Afeltra Spaghettone from Eataly was cooked (it’s a slightly thicker spaghetti, made in southern Campania with 100% Puglian grain), after which the pasta was combined with the tomato mixture in the bowl, stirred well, about half of it divided into 2 shallow bowls (this was only a first helping, since this primi was also the secundi last night), and finished with a modest sprinkling of chopped herbs, a mix which included more basil dill, and oregano [the basic recipe, from Mark Bittman, is one I had cut out of the New York Times Magazine 5 years ago, but have never used; the addition of the herb topping isn’t in his text, and it isn’t really in line with what I’ve written I’ve written above, but I had forgotten to reserve some of the basil for a garnish, and happened to have the other herbs handy at the moment]
  • the wine was an Italian (Sicily) white, Corvo Insolia 2014
  • the music was Nadia Sirota’s  2103 album, ‘Baroque’