A wonderful dish in the early summer when the first fresh, ripe tomatoes become available. If you have fresh tomatoes and fresh basil, this dish is a treat. Unlike Checca I, this recipe does not use onions.
1 1/2 lb (6 medium size) juicy, fresh, ripe tomatoes; this dish will not work with canned tomatoes
5 TBSP of your favorite olive oil
Fresh basil leaves, torn into smaller pieces by hand (cutting with a knife will blacken the basil)
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, or run through a garlic press
Optional: dried hot chili pepper (pepperoncino), to taste
Optional: 1 pound mozzarella, small cubes
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb spaghetti
A restaurant trick that adds flavor to this dish is to prepare the olive oil, garlic and tomatoes and a pinch of salt in a bowl a few hours before serving, so that the oil absorbs some of the taste of the garlic and tomatoes.
You can just cut up fresh tomatoes (picture) OR:
ALTERNATE: peel the tomatoes - bring a pot of water to the boil, put the tomatoes in for about a minute, remove with a slotted spoon - watch it they are incredibly hot! Peel when you can handle them. Remove the seeds and the liquid. If they are especially juicy, you can let them drain in a sieve for a few minutes.
Put the tomatoes in a bowl. Add the oil, half the shredded basil, the minced garlic, and the desired quantity of salt and pepper.
About half an hour before you wish to serve the pasta, set the water to boil, COOK the pasta.. When the pasta is cooked and drained, put it in a serving dish. Add the marinated tomatoes and the rest of the basil, stir well, taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary.