Every cuisine around the world has its comfort food. To my limited knowledge almost all of Italian food feels like comfort food. It tastes great, is simple to make, is unpretentious and hits all the right spots. This recipe is a classic example of what, to me, defines comfort food.
Crudo in Italian means “Raw”. Traditional Crudo dishes tend to involve dead animals. For instance, you have Sea Bass Crudo and Salmon Crudo. However, we discovered to our delight that there is also a Pomodoro Crudo. This dish is a hearty sauce made with fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil and served with Spaghetti. The “raw” in this dish comes from using fresh tomatoes. The last time we had Pomodoro Crudo was at Rathskeller in Fredricksburg in the Texas Hill Country over the New Year and I had been itching to make it since then.
Even though Rathskeller calls the dish Crudo, they did not use fresh tomatoes. Since we are in the middle of winter, I decided to use canned tomatoes as well – I started with my trusted favorite – Red Gold Diced Tomatoes. A little plug for Red Gold here. For Italian cooking, they are a great option to the more expensive Italian imported tomatoes. They are not available everywhere, but if you can find them, do give them a try. And, I just discovered, they have a tie up with Huy Fong (the Rooster sauce people) and make a Sriracha Ketchup as a joint initiative – Red Gold, which was already a favorite with me, has gone up several more notches in my book. Bravo!
The recipe itself is very basic but it makes for a very hearty meal. Here goes.
INGREDIENTS (for 4 people)
Good quality extra virgin Olive Oil – use generously – 3-4 Tbps
Chili Flakes – about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp – to taste
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 14.5 oz can of no-salt added diced tomatoes
Sea Salt – to taste
Some fresh ground black pepper – to taste
Some torn fresh basil (if you have it. I didn’t) or Dry Basil
Spaghetti – cooked al dente – as per instructions on the packet
- Heat the Olive Oil in a saucepan
- Add the chili flakes and garlic cloves and cook till the cloves are just starting to change color
- Add the tomatoes and cook till they are heated through and soft – about 8 mins
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Add the cooked spaghetti and cook till it is hot. Add torn Basil (or dry Basil if you like)
- Serve hot and grate some Parmigiano Reggiano on top if you feel like it.
- Finish eat and then repeat from Step 1.