Spaghetti con Pomodoro e Basilico (tomato and basil) is a simple Italian dish. Since tomatoes were first cultivated in the fertile land of Naples in the sixteenth century, tomatoes fully replaced the previously prevalent sweetness of Italian food with their savory acidity. As both tomato and the resilient herb basil became increasingly common crops throughout Italy, they began to appear together more frequently in Italian cooking.
Because the recipe requires so few ingredients, this dish is sometimes referred to as a “poor Italian’s dish,” but in actuality, the simplicity of the dish calls for nothing but the freshest and most high-quality ingredients. The dish is so desirable that even Silvia Fendi, Italian “it”-bag designer, counted it among her top ten favorite things, along with her dog and her purses, in Allure Magazine.
What sets the dish apart from other pasta recipes with the same ingredients (such as pasta with a tomato and basil sauce) is that the integrity of the tomatoes remains intact; they are typically chopped and cooked in a small amount of olive oil before being added to the spaghetti, rather than being combined in a sauce.
Contributed by Megan Mulrine.