Pasta crudaiola Barese
This is a typical Apulian cold dish, ideal for the hot summer days and nights, tasty on a picnic or for a buffet! Clearly reflecting the colours of the Italian flag: red white and green, this easy dish has only a few ingredients but please try to get the best quality ingredients as the only cooking here is the pasta! It is my ‘go to’ recipe when I’m having friends or family over.
As you know from my last pasta dish, Orecchiette is Italian for "little ears and traditionally this is what is used but a penne or rigatoni will do just as well. It should be prepared at least half an hour in advance so the flavours can develop - so as well as being easy, it’s really convenient too! This is just a starting point. Please adjust the ingredients to suit your taste buds! The Ricotta Marzotica is a hard, white, salty cheese. It crumbles and grates very easily and when used on warm pasta, it melts to give a creamy (ish) sauce. It can be bought in the UK, online is probably the easiest way. It also freezes well. That’s lucky because I always bring a big chunk of it back from Italy, cut it into about 500g pieces and keep it in the freezer. You don’t need to defrost it, actually it’s easier to grate from frozen.
Dried pasta (Orecchiette/penne/rigatoni) 500g
Fresh cherry or any ripe tomatoes 300g
Terre Di San Vito extra virgin olive oil 120ml approx
Garlic 1 clove - crushed
Ricotta marzotica cheese 200-300g
Salt for the pasta water
Basil leaves: 15-20
Preparing the dish
Wash the tomatoes and basil.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half (larger tomatoes into ¼)and place in a large mixing bowl.
Chop the basil and add it to the bowl with the tomatoes (smelling good now?) Crush or chop the garlic and add it to the bowl with the tomato mixture (smelling even better?)
Finely grate the ricotta marzotica.
Add half of it to the mixture – keep the other half for when you are serving the dish.
Pour half of the olive oil in to the mixture and give it all a good stir.
Cover the mixture and place it in the fridge for at least ½ an hour.
In a large saucepan, add at least 4 litres of water and a good, big pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil then add your chosen pasta.
Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, drain off the water.
Now it’s time to bring it all together!
Remove the mixture from the fridge, add the cooked pasta (whilst still warm) and mix it all together well.
Add the rest of the ricotta marzotica and olive oil and give a final stir.
Serve it immediately or let it cool down and eat it when you are ready!
Now you can see why this is a great dish when entertaining, to keep in the fridge or for taking to friends.
Increase/decrease the measures of olive oil and ricotta marzotica to fit your taste
If left out for a long while, or if you have used too much oil – which I do regularly, the oil and cheese mixture will sink to the bottom of the bowl so give it a little mix every now and then.
If you don’t like the crushed garlic, add large slices then before adding the pasta, remove the garlic from the mixture.
Always serve this dish with a bottle of our fabulous Apeneste