Given the labour of love that is food styling and journalism, I won’t be turning this blog into a cookery course; more likely I will be discussing food-related issues. But some things are too good not to share, and this is one – it has to be one of the simplest pasta dishes of all. I can’t remember where the recipe came from, but it has become a summer staple in our home.
Two or three ripe tomatoes per person
75g of ricotta per person
50g of conchiglie (pasta shells) per person
Torn basil leaves
Sea salt, pepper, sugar (to taste)
Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks. Very ripe tomatoes are best, San Marzano if you can get them. If not, season with salt, pepper and possibly a little sugar in order to bring the juice and flavour out. Place in a bowl with several tbsp of olive oil, the seasoning and the torn basil. Leave to marinade as convenient.
Boil water and cook the pasta al dente (usually about 12-13 minutes).
Just before it is ready, add the ricotta to the tomatoes and stir to mix ingredients. Some people prefer the ricotta to remain crumbly; I prefer to mix it until it becomes a sauce.
Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Add the tomato mix, stir and leave for a couple of minutes. The residual heat from the pan is all that is needed to warm the tomatoes and sauce a little. Italian food is rarely served piping hot.