A “crudaiola” sauce (pronounced croo-dah-yo-lah in English) is essentially a sauce that is made up of raw ingredients. This pasta recipe is almost raw. It’s cooked very little. It is a take on a classic Italian tomato sauce made with fresh tomatoes when in season.
The word for uncooked in Italian is “crudo”. So, I’m thinking that the word “crude” in English must somehow be embroiled etymologically with this … who knows how or why. Of course, the Ancient Greeks called everyone who was not Greek a “Barbarian” and barbarians were known NOT to cook their food. Can we hence assume that the Italian “crudo” (uncooked) had something to do with the English “crude” (i.e. unsophisticated) ?
Understated in the extreme as this recipe may be, there is nothing unsophisticated about it whatsover. And as with the luxury of understated and refined goods, the secret lies in the quality of the ingredients. I wouldn’t dream of making this recipe during the colder times of the year. It requires the best of Summer tomatoes.
San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, parsely stalks, extra virgin olive oil, basil, spaghetti
I like kitchen toys – they make life a lot more interesting when cooking. That little black thing you see on the right? It’s a tomato peeler. Yes, not a potato peeler – a tomato peeler. And it does a wonderful job of peeling tomato skins. If you don’t own one of these (and why would you?), then … then plunge your tomatoes in boiling water and let them sit there for a couple of minutes – after which, remove them and plunge them into very cold water, so that you don’t scorch your fingers when removing the skins.
Now that the tomatoes have been skinned, they need to be quartered. And then the quarters need to be halved.
And then … and then you want to get rid of the ‘inside’ of the tomatoes so that all you are left with is the pulp. The stuff on the left, in the bowl on the left, is the ‘inside’ of the tomato. And will be thrown away. The stuff on the right is the good stuff, the pulp.
Job almost done because it’s a good idea to slice the tomato pulp now, into thinner slices.
And to finish off the job, sprinkle salt over the slithers of tomato pulp.
People sometimes ask me to recommend pasta brands. This is a brand I like. It’s called Pasta Cocco and comes from the region of Abbruzzo. If you want to read a little bit more about it, here is a link: https://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/making-pasta-pope-abruzzos-mastri-pastai Here is their website but there is no translation in English it would seem? https://www.pastacocco.com/ .
TIME TO GET COOKING
Bring the water to the boil, add salt (10g of salt per liter of water) and when the water returns to a rolling boil, lower the spaghetti into it. Avail yourselves of a nice big saucepan and generously pour extra virgin olive oil into it. Add as much or as little garlic as you like. A handful of parsely stalks. And some fresh chilli – or dry chilli flakes if you don’t have fresh.
Unlike other occasions when the garlic needs to be cooked to a golden colour before adding other ingredients, this time everything gets thrown in together – à la crudaiola. Boom.
And only now do we turn the heat on.
Cook for a few minutes.
Then add basil and cook some more.
Then add the cooked spaghetti and some more fresh basil and any other fresh herb you fancy and finish off cooking the pasta.
Toss and toss to finish cooking the pasta and then switch off the heat.
Can’t say this presentation looks like much.
Nor this. But can I say?
It tasted just mmmmmm.
PS I was inspired to do this recipe by a similar one outlined in the book called “Faccia da Chef” written by comedian and cook Andy Luotto.