This is one of our favourite lazy dinners and it’s the perfect home for our past the sell by date buffalo mozzarella which we bring home from the shop. It’s a kind of an owning a food shop perk – eating all the food that’s past the sell by date. Past the sell by date is of course a different thing from being out of date which could be dodgy. We marinated the mozzarella in olive oil with the very last of this years basil crop. It felt good to be eating our own basil in December.It’s quite amazing that it survived last weeks frosts.
It takes very little time and effort to prepare this dish and doesn’t require any fancy equipment. A large saucepan to cook the linguine and small saucepan for the sauce and you’re away.
The sauce is very simple to make, just olive oil, garlic, a few chilli flakes, anchovies and canned tomatoes. Don’t be put off trying this recipe by the mention of the anchovies as this isn’t a fishy dish.. In this instance the anchovies are acting as a flavour enhancer and once cooked in the sauce add an extra dimension – other than that they disappear completely
Here’s the recipe. It serves 4-5 people
Linguine with Tomato and Mozzarella and Basil
2-3 fatty cloves of garlic
1-2 red chillies
50ml olive oil – about 2 overflowing tablespoons, plus a little for the mozzarella
5-6 anchovy fillets
2 balls of fresh mozzarella
2 cans tomatoes, chopped
A bunch of basil
Salt and black pepper
Peel and chop the garlic and chop the chilli.
Put a pan on the heat and add the olive oil, garlic and chilli. Don’t allow the oil to get too hot as garlic burns easily and will spoil the sauce.
Cook gently for a minute or so and then stir in the anchovies.
Mash the anchovies up with a wooden spoon then add the chopped tomatoes, season with salt and pepper.
Bring the tomato sauce to the boil then turn down and simmer for twenty to thirty minutes. The oil will eventually come to the surface, which means the sauce is ready
Dice the buffalo mozzarella and chop the basil and put them into a bowl. Season with salt, black pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Mix together gently and leave aside for the flavours to infuse.
Bring a big pot of water to the boil, add plenty of salt and cook the linguineaccording to the directions on the packet. Watch the clock!
Drain the linguine after the specified time and put it into a warm bowl. Pour the tomato sauce over and then scatter the mozzarella on top.