The first recipe that Violetta showed you was spaghetti with tomato sauce and I personally think it was a good choice because it’s probably the most iconic dish of the Italian cuisine, more than pizza or meatballs.
Look at the picture and you can actually see the colors of the Italian flag: the white of pasta and parmigiano, the red of tomato and the green of basil.
If you want to know what I think, my favourite tomato sauce was the one Violetta’s mum used to make. She used to cook the sauce in the same way Violetta does, but instead of using canned passata she used to mill fresh ripe tomatoes directly into the pot where oil and garlic were gently simmering.
Tomatoes are summer fruits, so every year in august, when tomatoes were perfectly ripe and red, she used to buy a lot of them to make conserve.
In Italy it’s a common habit to prepare handmade tomato passata in jars or bottles, but she preferred to put in jars whole uncooked tomatoes and a large bunch of fresh basil. In this way, even in a cold winter day, she could mill tomatoes and bring into the home, with their scent, all the warmth of the sun.
If the sauce was ready and the pasta still wasn’t, no one could resist temptation, so everyone in the house would sneak around the pot with a piece of sourdough bread to soak. The children had a special treatment: a little amount of sauce was put in a saucer for them, with a crumbled dried bread at the bottom to make a delicious pappa al pomodoro.