Spaghetti Alla Cecca (pronounced Keka)
Rexanne’s all time favorite
1 pound Di Cecco spaghetti
6 large diced plum tomatoes (ripe but firm)
4 cloves fresh garlic (crushed)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Wash tomatoes. On cutting board, slice each tomato in half, lengthwise. Slice lengthwise again. Remove all seeds and membrane from inside tomatoes. Lay each quarter tomato inside down on cutting board. With a very sharp knife, slice tomatoes lengthwise and then across to create finely diced little squares of tomato. The smaller you chop them, the better this pasta will taste, trust me … (although you don’t want them mashed by chopping too fine). Toss diced tomatoes in a medium size bowl.
Add olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed garlic. Mix thoroughly. You may refrigerate if pasta is not yet ready.
In large pot, bring salted water to a full boil. Add spaghetti (and a drop or two of any cooking oil). Cook until al dente. Drain spaghetti, reserving about 3/4 cup of cooking water. Pour spaghetti and water in large serving bowl or platter. Add tomato mixture and mix well. Top with chopped basil.
When serving this pasta, dig from the bottom of the bowl as the tomatoes tend to amass on the bottom of the serving platter. I have a serving spoon handy to top off the first portions served with the “goodies” from the bottom of the bowl.
This dish is good served with Bruschetta; crusty Italian or French Bread, brushed with a mixture of half melted butter, half olive oil and crushed garlic (subtle, about 1 large clove for half a loaf). Lay coated bread on baking sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven or until slightly golden. The tomatoes from the pasta can be scooped onto a piece of bread … delicious!
* Since this sauce is not cooked, it’s great to serve on hot day.
** This recipe, minus the spaghetti, is what I use to make Bruschetta (Italian garlic bread).