Fulvio Pierangelini's Culinary Tales Vol. 4
Food & Drink
In a few months, Summer will come…
Summer for me is a bit melancholic and tiring. Everything to me seems stuck. I would like “Ferragosto” with its rules, to pass me by without arriving at all. The inexorable rites of cold pasta, rice salad, watermelon brought in vessels on to the baking sand in a type of secular procession. Still today, after thousands of years, infinite adventures, outburst of life’s joys and sorrows, the summer storm which arrives after the middle of August, give me peace and serenity.
Not long after adolescence, I started working at the beach. First as a lifeguard, then on a sail boat. The rhythm and the timing dictated only by the sky. Only with the rain was the beach emptied and I could finally relax. I adore the rain that falls on the sea. The silent sound of the waters joining together. I take the opportunity to see my fisherman friends, men whose faces have been embroidered by the salt and sun, who take this break to repair their nets. I watch them, fascinated by how they let their wind scarred hands, move autonomously from life and separate from reality, they themselves absent, as if they were thinking of a siren or a big prey they have never encountered.
I know that tomorrow the sun will return and with it, hungry bathers. But I still smell the aroma of the wet ground from this rain. I know that in the woods will grow mushrooms, they are ready at the last rites of summer, we’ll pick the last blackberries from secret brambles and collect the first figs before the new rain arrives. We will peel them carefully, removing the smallest skin and make splendid jams that will accompany us into the coming seasons.
Now I want to tell you a true recipe, this classic from summer; spaghetti with tomato sauce – too simple?
You know, first of all that simplicity is the finishing point and not the starting point. I have been working my whole life trying to reach simplicity and therefore: spaghetti with tomato sauce.
You have to look for the most languid and mature tomatoes. You have to look at them, caress them and become emotional about them – perhaps fall in love. You skin and de-seed the tomatoes then break them delicately with your hands in small pieces - they hate the blade of a knife.
Then softly place them in a casserole of just the right size for the quantity with extra virgin olive oil, a clove of garlic and a bunch of basil and a branch of thyme.
You sprinkle salt lightly on the tomatoes.
Leave them to quiver on a low flame for 10 minutes.
Remove the garlic and the exhausted herbs.
Pour the spaghetti, a little raw – not overcooked – into the tomatoes – they’ll be happy.
Chop lots and lots of basil.
Now, a splash of oil.
It’s finished, is that all?
You’ll see what happens – everyone will smile at you – Magic!
Fulvio Pierangelini looks forward to welcoming guests back to our Italian destinations soon, where he hopes his culinary tales will have inspired them to sample his simple, flavourful dishes in situ.