Greatest recipes ever: Jacob Kennedy’s spaghettini with raw tomato

‘Jacob’s book of mouth-watering Italian recipes arrived on my doorstep a month or so ago, just before my bambina was born. As you can imagine, I’ve not had much time to cook since, so it was with delight that I happened upon this utterly delicious, beautifully simple recipe that celebrates tomatoes when they’re at their best-just about now. This is the perfect time of year to head off to the market late on a Saturday to pick up boxes of them at a knockdown price, or perhaps you already have a glut in the garden, ripe, juicy and intoxicatingly sweet-smelling. Cook and bottle them to savour in the winter, or live for the moment and eat them in as many ways as you can dream up’

Thomasina Miers

Spaghettini with raw tomato

Extract from Jacob Kennedy’s
Bocca Cookbook
Published in 2011 by Bloomsbury

Classic from southern Lazio all the way down to Sicily, raw tomatoes make one of the simplest and tastiest sauces. My grandmother, who prepares this pasta almost every day when in Italy, refers to it as primavera-but it is a far cry from the Italo-America sauce of the same name. Why she calls it primavera, ‘spring sauce’, I’ll never know. This dish is a true taste of summer, packed with ripe tomatoes, olive oil, basil all great, zingy flavours. The rawness makes this a most refreshing and uplifting dish.


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200g spaghettini
400g ripe tomatoes
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed
40g black olives, Gaeta if you can get them (optional)
15 basil leaves, torn


At least 10 minutes but no more than an hour before you eat, chop the tomatoes into pieces of about 1cm-don’t remove the skin or seeds-and mix with the oil and garlic, seasoning with plenty of salt and pepper. If using, stone the olives (easiest by squashing them hard with the flat of a knife), chop them and stir into the tomatoes. Leave to macerate at room temperature.

Put the pasta on to boil in plenty of salted boiling water. You don’t want to cook the sauce, but it’s a good idea to warm it gently in its bowl over the boiling water. Drain the pasta al dente and toss with the sauce and basil leaves. Serve immediately-it won’t be piping hot and will get cold all too quickly.

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