Back when my wife and I could go on holiday without having to take an entire nursery with us, we spent a week in the January gloom of a tiny Ligurian village called Apricale. Out of season and with most of the bars, restaurants and shops closed, it was pretty, quiet and pretty quiet. Of the places that were open, the one we went to most was a simple café called Locanda Tarocchi, which served amazing food that was simple but really delicious. Their antipasti was the best I’ve ever had anywhere, and their spaghetti with tomato sauce was beautiful, fresh and sweet. When I got home I tried to recreate it – and after many attempts I think I’ve got pretty close with this one.
6 tbsp good quality olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tsp of white wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
250g of cherry tomatoes, with the vine
A pinch of salt
1 tsp of paprika
1. In a large frying pan with the heat on already, pour in the olive oil. Add the garlic cloves and cook them gently, turning occasionally until they are starting to colour and soften. Remove the garlic cloves and throw them away, or as I do, mash them up and spread on a piece of crusty bread for a snack.
2. Add the vines from the tomatoes and give them a good stir round, coating them in oil and releasing their wonderful aroma into the oil.
3. Throw in the tomatoes, shake the pan around for a bit and season well with the salt, paprika and sugar. Leave the tomatoes to cook for about five minutes, or until collapsing, give them a good stir and add the vinegar. Cook for a further five minutes, adjust the seasoning and add a dash of water if the sauce is too thick. Remove the vines and serve with spaghetti and plenty of parmesan.