By Pia Hinckle
My Calabrian friend Pino made this dish during a visit to California in 1999. This is a traditional southern Italian pasta made with fresh tomatoes, olives, capers, and basil. Now I make it every summer during the height of tomatoes season.
- 1 pound spaghetti or linguine
- Ten medium ripe fresh tomatoes (any kind)
- 1/2 jar Kalamata or Greek olives in brine (pitted)
- 1-2 tablespoons capers
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- One medium red onion
- Three tablespoons olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Pepperoncini (dried chili pepper), if desired
- Put on a large pot of water to boil; add a handful of salt.
- Core and chop tomatoes. (If you prefer to peel them, drop the tomatoes in boiling pasta water until the skin splits, then remove them with a slotted spoon, run under cool water, peel skin off, then chop.)
- Finely chop the onion and garlic.
- In a large skillet, or pot large enough to add the cooked pasta, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil. (If you like a spicy dish, add a dried whole pepperoncino to the onions just before the tomatoes.)
- When translucent, add tomatoes, stirring regularly.
- Drain the olives from their brine and add to the tomatoes.
- Cook on medium to medium-low heat until the tomatoes have lost most of their water and the sauce begins to thicken about 15 minutes.
- Bring the pasta water to a high boil and add the pasta.
- Simmer sauce and stir occasionally.
- Cook pasta until al dente.
- Add a tablespoon or two of drained capers and some chopped basil to the tomatoes; stir well.
- Drain pasta when cooked and add to the tomato sauce.
- Toss well.
- Serve immediately with fresh basil as garnish and grated Parmesan cheese.