Pasta With Salsa Cruda (Raw Sauce)
Everybody knows and loves the Caprese salad, that classic combination of three perfect Italian ingredients: mozzarella, tomato and basil. Named after Capri and loved the world over, this salad heralds the arrival of summer and the ripe tomatoes that accompany it. It also demonstrates true harmony: the acidity of the tomatoes and their sweetness balances the rich, lactic creaminess of mozzarella, and basil adds pepperiness and fragrance. It is the essence of summer, a quintessential Italian plateful and a celebration of the three colours of the Italian flag.
Here this classic combination is reincarnated as an unusual but ideal dish for the summer months. Though it is not exactly a pasta dish, neither it is completely a salad. It’s a happy hybrid - a pasta salad – but, fear not, it is nothing like those ones your mum made in the 90’s. Here there are no suspicious cubes of green pepper or puckered khaki-coloured peas, and, thankfully, not a sweetcorn kernel in sight.
Instead, this is a surprisingly light, deliciously simple, and totally satisfying plate of food perfect for summer, requiring as little time as possible spent in front of the oven, and only a very few ingredients. It’s extremely economical too, but as there are so few ingredients and it is such a simple assembly I recommend that a) the best possible versions of these ingredients are sourced and b) every detail of the recipe is scrupulously observed.
As is always the way, exceptionally good simplicity means attention to detail. A good buffalo-milk mozzarella shouldn’t be too hard to source, and at this time of year, neither should good, firm-but-flavourful tomatoes (I use a mix of large and small). Find the best extra virgin olive oil that you can get your hands on, too. The rest is easy.