Pasta Crudaiola. The best recipe for hot summer days

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Pasta crudaiola is one of the fastest in cooking and at the same time light and fresh Italian dishes, the ideal solution for your lunch during hot summer days. It comes from Puglia, from the seaside town Bari, where the temperature in July and August usually is about 35-40 degrees above zero.

I inherited this recipe from local residents during one of my holidays in Puglia. And now it’s already ready to land from the origins directly to your plate. The secret of the name of this dish is hidden in the fact, that all its ingredients (except pasta) are used in the raw fresh form. From the Italian language crudo translates like “raw”,  that’s why this pasta is called Crudaiola.

Thanks to the freshness of the ingredients it looks like a summer salad, that can be consumed cold, and has important health-giving characteristics. During the hottest summer days, the last thing you would like to take care of is to prepare a complex dish. That’s why this recipe is really indispensable as well as simple.

For the 4 good portions you will need to use the following ingredients:

  • 320 grams of pasta. According to the original recipe, penne is the ideal form of pasta for this dish, but even Italians are changing it by using different types. So you can also try to make some adventurous experiments.
  • Tomatoes cherry or ciliegino, also they are called pomodori grappolo (ciliegino grappolo), because they are recalling a bunch of grapes (grappolo – a bunch of grapes). According to the original recipe, the quantity is about 20 pieces. But here also there is a place for your experiment or personal preferences.
  • Olive oil extravergine about 5-6 tablespoons. As already mentioned above, we use the ingredients in their fresh form, and the fresh olive oil is irreplaceable health-giving.
  • Fresh basil. The quantity you can identify depending on the level of aromaticity that you prefer. On average, I recommend about 20-25 large leaves. But here you can also modify it, add or reduce.
  • 100 grams of cheese ricotta dura (hard ricotta), it’s also called ricotta salata (salty ricotta). This is a mature hard curd cheese made from cow’s milk or sheep’s milk. Ricotta is considered one of the best for health cheeses because contains less fat compared to other types. In the absence, you can replace it with another curd cheese of a solid consistency.
  • Salt as you like.

You should follow these steps:

1. Cut tomatoes into about 8-12 small pieces for each and place in a large and comfortable deep dish for salads.

2. Grind the basil and add to a plate with tomatoes.

3. Pour the olive oil, mix thoroughly and leave for 15 minutes to allow the basil saturate all the mix with its aromatic fragrance.

4. During this time we need to prepare cheese and to cook pasta. Grate the cheese on a large grater or chop it in another way you prefer to form not too small, but also not large “flakes”.

5. Pasta should be cooked al dente, that means slightly hard and elastic when biting. For this reason, I usually advise to start tasting it 3 minutes before the end of the time specified on the packaging not to boil it too much.

6. Add about half of the cheese flakes to the sauce and mix all together. At this step, you need to taste the total mixture and, only if it’s necessary, add salt. *If you use the salty cheese, it’s important not to overdo with the salt. Because after when you’ll mix all, the added salt will be combined with the salt of cheese. And so you can get a too salty dish at the end, which is not so good for your health, as you probably know.

7. Add pasta to the sauce by mixing all together again and after (better directly to your plate) you can add the remaining cheese. After all, we have got a tricolor dish in full harmony with the national Italian flag!


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