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Spaghetti alla Caprese

Spaghetti alla Caprese
Spaghetti with tomato and mozzarella dressing Serves 4

This is a classic example of a ‘salsa al crudo’ – hot pasta tossed quickly, off the heat, with raw ingredients, served immediately.
Most dressings of this kind need to rest at least 15 minutes prior to dressing to allow the flavours to infuse.
Please do not confuse this dish with cold pasta salads, the likes of which Lucio is  not a fan. He sees no point in ruining a beautiful salad with cold pasta!

A perfect and simple dish for this time of year with tomatoes at their most luscious, the Caprese involves hot spaghetti and a simple sauce of raw ingredients at room temperature, and you must use fresh moist cows milk mozzarella, known as fior di latte, or if you can find buffalo milk mozzarella, all the better.

500 g ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic peeled and cut in half
1 teaspoon oregano leaves, chopped
15 basil leaves, roughly torn
150 ml extra virgin olive oil
150 g fresh mozzarella diced to the same size at the tomatoes
sea salt
400 g spaghetti
handful small basil leaves, to serve

Place the diced tomato in a colander over the sink and leave to drain for about half an hour so it loses some of its moisture.
Rub the inside of the serving bowl with the cut surface of the garlic – this adds a very subtle flavour. Add the drained  tomato, oregano, basil, olive oil and the mozzarella, and season with salt. Stir everything together and let it rest for about half an hour.
Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water, until al dente. Drain well,  then tip into the serving bowl. Add the small basil leaves and toss quickly through the dressing. Serve immediately.

For more great pasta recipes see The Art of Pasta by Lucio Galletto & David Dale. Personally signed copies available here.

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