In the beginning...
This preparation is pure and represent the basics of Sicilian cooking. Fresh, seasonable ingredients, no frills. A dish to enjoy, a dish to relish. It recalls summer and tastes as such. Whenever served, smiles appear.
Whereas the preparation is simple, the taste is overwhelming. Tomato, garlic, olive oil and basil form a perfect equilibrium. A base so reliable it hurts.
Simple, tasty and healthy. All ingredients contribute to your wellbeing. Physical as well as mental.
With only four ingredients this dish is delicate. There is no ascendancy, the four form an alliance. The fabulous four, inseparabile, united for taste and faith.
This means all products need to be top quality. Use your best olive oil, and don’t be stingy. The garlic is fundamental in the maceration. But you are not supposed to eat it.
Use the freshest tomatoes available. Not the prettiest since you’ll cut them up anyway. Avoid dried basil at any cost.
With solid basics laid out, let’s build. Classic and cute: chili pepper. Adding them right from the start is risky. Better add some flakes when serving. To those who like it hot.
Almonds, Sicilian almonds, make everything better. They are the violins of the orchestra. But as strings in music, almonds tend to be filling.
Cheese goes well with this dish. You may grate it when serving or even add dices in the condiment.
Apart from basil, avoid all other herbs. If you really have to, go with fresh mint.
Heat no heat
The condiment has to rest. It is highly recommendable to let is sit overnight in the fridge. Cover it with foil. There are two schools of thought on what to do next. Or add the al dente boiled pasta to cold or room temperature condiment. Or let the condiment reach room temperature first. What you can’t do is heat the condiment.
Thought it is a summer dish, do not serve it as a salad. Whereas the condiment can be stored, once mixed it has to be eaten right away.
Dos and donts
Going back to basics, you will see, is nice. This is a detox dish if you please. It makes you understand that adding ingredients very often is superfluous.
Enjoy the simplicity. harbour the freshness. Count till four ingredients, then stop. If you reach five, you might still be in for a good meal. From six on, forget it.