So, in case you hadn’t noticed, Italy won Euro 2020. Woo…hoo! As you can imagine, in our house there is always a whole family extravaganza and I can tell you, we had a great time. We eat before the football starts. Can’t be excited on an empty stomach. Nerves run high. There is a lot of energy expended. We jump up and down a lot!

At half time we need sustenance. Traditionally a mortadella panini. Thin slices of pink and white speckled pork rammed into the goal mouth of a chewy tasty panino, masses of black pepper and a jug of peaches soaked in Montepulciano D ’Abruzzo. Deep breath and we can face the second half. Oh, my. By the end of the match, we were completely exhausted. What a result.

A quick plate of pasta did just the trick to settle us down for the post- match analysis. This Summer fresh tomato sugo is made in a hurry, ‘sciuè sciuè’, just enough time to cook the pasta. Use ripe fresh tomatoes, as soft and squishy as possible. Plum tomatoes or ruby red cherry tomatoes are best.

Ingredients: Serves 2

180g spaghettini

Sea salt

extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

Piece dried chilli / pepperoncino

6-7 very ripe plum tomatoes (about 500g)


Parmigiano Reggiano


Prepare a large pot of water and bring to the boil.

Add salt then the spaghettini.

Press down and stir until they are loosened in the water.

Choose a wide frying pan.

Add 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

Peel and slice the garlic and crush the dried chilli.

Add to the oil and sauté on a low heat to release the flavours.

Rinse the ripe tomatoes and either chop them or simply squeeze and squash them with your hands into the oil. Discard any skins.

Cook on a brisk heat allowing the tomatoes to break down and their juices to be released and start to evaporate.

The sauce is ready when the oils start to separate from the tomatoes.

Add sea salt to taste, fresh basil leaves and extra swirl of extra virgin olive oil.

Stir the pasta and check its firmness. It will finish cooking in the frying pan.

Use tongs to lift the al -dente pasta dripping with the cooking water and add to the frying pan.

Toss the pasta in the sauce to coat it with the sauce and finish cooking.

Add a few tablespoons of the cooking water of the sauce needs it.

Scatter across fresh basil leaves and lots of freshly grated Parmigiano.

Serve in 2 l big bowls in front of the telly!

Mary Contini OBE is a writer and Director of Valvona & Crolla ltd. We are happy to welcome you in our CaffèBar and shop again, open all day. Book and order online: www. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.