Another of my Italian favourites – tomato bruschette. Nothing tastes more of summer than this antipasto – hints of garlic, ripe sweet tomatoes, fresh basil and lashings of olive oil. I could eat these every day in summer. For some reason, they taste better in Italy than they do at home. I think it’s something to do with the tomatoes – they just seem to have more flavour. I think bruschette are best when made in summer with fresh, ripe tomatoes rather than ones that have been in cold storage and taste a bit bland.
All you need to make tomato bruschette is a French baguette or ciabatta, which you slice, rub with a cut garlic clove, and toast under the grill (I love those charred grill lines). Cut up loads of tomato, and mix with lashings of good quality olive oil and a handful of roughly chopped basil. Pile the toasted bread up with the tomato mixture and that’s it. Simple and delicious.
This is one of the easiest pasta dishes I make. There’s hardly any chopping, and no stirring involved. It just needs a slow bake in the oven. I made this pasta for dinner for my cousin and boyfriend the night before we ran the Two Oceans half marathon – it was great for carbo loading!
- 1.2 kg of rosa or cherry tomatoes
- 200 g feta
- A handful of pitted black olives
- A head of garlic
- A handful of fresh basil leaves
- 750 g farfalle pasta, cooked according to packet instructions
Heat the oven to 180 C.
Put the tomatoes and olives in a big ceramic dish with a good slug each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Break up the garlic head and tuck the individual cloves in between the tomatoes (there’s no need to peel them). Season with black pepper. Place in the oven and cook for about 40 minutes, or until the tomatoes are just starting to burst. Crumble in the feta and bake for a further 10 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, pop the garlic cloves out of their skins, add roughly chopped basil leaves and mix well. Add to the cooked pasta and serve with a few basil leaves on top. It goes well with a watercress, rocket and avo salad dressed in lemon juice.