For Italians, lunch is the most important meal of the day, and is almost always eaten as family. Children usually finish school around 1:00 and men usually return home from work at the same time for the daily riposo. During this time, most shops and businesses close down as well. At home, lunch is generally a large meal, complete with il primo, il secondo, and il dolce, which translates to the first course, second course, and sweets. On the weekends, Giuseppe and I try to keep this tradition alive here in California. Today I prepared pasta al pomodoro for il primo, a simple Mediterreanan style salad for il secondo, for desert we had fruit, and Giuseppe had, as usual, his regular serving of gelato con cioccolato.
Italian cooking is as delicious as it is simple. I thought I would share this basic salsa di pomodoro recipe that I learned to make while living in bella Napoli:
(1) Over medium heat, cover the bottom of a medium-sized sauce pan in extra-virgin olive oil. (2) Add one large can of diced, organic tomatoes. (3) Sprinkle in about 2 teaspoons of organic sea salt. (4) Add 3-4 leaves of fresh basil. (5) Simmer for approximately 20 minutes. (4) Serve over penne cooked only al dente. (5) Sprinkle freshly grated parmeggiano reggiano over each serving of pasta.
This is a staple of Neapolitan cooking, and is incredibly flavorful and delicious. Bon appetito!