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The year was 2019 and the programme was Billions Season 1, episode 1. Have you watched Billions? If not, you should, you’d love it. It was a fleeting line but it stayed with me a long time and would come to define the show and its elevated taste. Axe asked Bruno what tomatoes he used for his pizzas and he said, San Marzano. From that moment on I made it my mission to cook with these tomatoes. Each time I ate something in Italy when on holiday, I would ask if they used San Marzano and they’d almost genuflect in appreciation for the superiority of this king of tomatoes.
There is a difference and like 7Up the difference is clear; the taste is smooth and it goes down like velvet. It is the perfect balance of sweet and just the right amount of acidity so that is does not mask the flavours. You can taste the ingredients when you cook with this. I cook with nothing else now.
And I have just the perfect recipe for a solo dinner and something to throw quickly together with friends.
- Spaghetti Cipriani
- Olive oil
- Bring to a boil two cups of water, olive oil and salt.
- Put in a half packet of spaghetti- do not break it.
- Leave to boil al dente; about ten fifteen minutes
- Drain but hold back some pasta water.
- Set aside.
- King prawns; raw and seasoned and set aside
- Half an Onions.
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 tin San Marzano tomatoes
- Everyday seasoning
- Gold pepper flakes
- Season the prawns: salt, thyme, basil, seafood seasoning, chilli flakes. Set aside.
- Stir fry the onions and garlic until translucent.
- Add in the spices. This helps you create a deep flavour profile.
- Toss in the prawns and cook. Once done, remove the prawns and set aside.
- In the same pan, fry the san Marzano; you don’t have to add any more oil to the skillet. Mix well with the garlic and onions. Once well fried put back the prawns and cover to sizzle; about ten minutes.
- Taste for more seasoning or salt.
- Satisfied; throw in the spaghetti. Stir very well.
- Optional; add in mozzarella balls. Maybe grate some cheese on top
For dessert, we are eating strawberries. Nothing, absolutely nothing is as pure and wholesome as British strawberries in summer time. Fat, juicy, read, delicious and a taste of summer.