As I’ve mentioned before the most important factor in Italian cooking is the quality of ingredients. This is definitely the case with this dish as it is so simple but it depends on using the best quality tomatoes, fresh basil and good parmesan cheese. If you can’t get your hands on orecchiette you can use penne instead.

Orecchiette is made in Pulgia and anyone who watched Jamie’s Italy would have seen the little girl “making mincemeat” of him when they were making it by hand on the side of the street. This pasta is made of durum wheat, semolina and water. In the south of Italy it is mainly served with tomato sauce made with the best  local ingredients but in the north it is served with vegetable sauces like those made with broccoli, rocket, courgette and aubergines.


  • orecchiette or penne(LC)
  • 2 packets of cherry or plum tomatoes on the vine. There is no point in making it with regular cherry tomatoes as they won’t have enough flavour. Both Dunnes “simply better” range and Superquin’s vine tomatoes are very good. The organic stand at the farmer’s market has Italian cherry tomatoes also.
  • 1 clove of garlic peeled
  • good quality olive oil (LC)
  • 5-6 large fresh basil leaves chopped
  • parmesan cheese (LC)
  • salt
  • pinch of sugar


 – cut your tomatoes in half

 – fill the base of a deep with olive oil

 – cook your garlic until brown and remove, leave the oil cool for a couple of mins.

 – add your tomatoes, season with salt and simmer for about 20-25 mins until you have a thick tomato sauce consistency. Add your basil and sugar towards the end.

 – while your sauce is simmering bring a pot of water to the boil, add salt and cook your pasta until al dente

 – drain your pasta and add to your sauce and serve with freshly grated parmesan on top.

Buon Appetito!!

(LC) – available at La Cucina.