In a return to traditional cooking, an iconic dish is chosen.
Now in its seventh year, the International Day of Italian Cuisines is an annual worldwide celebration of an authentic and quality approach to traditional Italian cooking. The date of January 17 holds a great symbolic importance as the day of the Catholic feast of Sant'Antonio Abate, patron saint of domestic animals, but also more importantly, of butchers and salami makers. It is on this day that the Italian Carnival begins, celebrating good, rich food alongside cooking.
Each year, an iconic recipe is selected as the official dish, with 2014 focusing on that most timeless Italian classic – Spaghetti Pomodoro e Basilico.
While it may seem just a basic mix of pasta, tomato and basil, it is its simplicity that makes it so iconic. The dish focuses on three main ingredients which, when sourced correctly, will make this 'primo piatto' sing. Handcrafted Italian pasta, matched with flavourful piennolo tomatoes from Vesuvius and complemented by rare basil flown in from Pra (Genova – Liguria) would be anything but ordinary.
This most Italian recipe is a true celebration of the gastronomic history of Italy and, if made with attention and care, can be one of the most flavourful.
The official recipe this year was contibuted by esteemed Milanese chef Mario Caramella.
We recommend pairing with a Monte Rossa Franciacorta Brut DOCG Prima Cuvee, or a bottle of Feudi del Pisciotto Frappato IGT Carolina Marengo-Kisa, both excellent companions to tomato sauce based pasta dishes.
400g durum wheat Italian spaghetti
2 cans of Italian peeled tomatoes (San Marzano PDO) or 600g tomatoes from piennolo
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
A handful of fresh basil, to serve
In a large pan lightly brown the fresh garlic in the extra virgin olive oil.
Add the tomatoes and cook at a medium heat for 8-10 minutes
Cook the spaghetti al dente, drain and toss in the tomato sauce for 1-2 minutes over medium heat.
Put the spaghetti in individual previously warmed plates; add some sauce, a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and some fresh basil leaves on each plate.
Add some grated Grana Padano PDO cheese to serve.