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Gino's Italian Escape

Spaghetti alla chitarra with fresh tomatoes, garlic, chilli and rocket

When Gino was in Pescara – the main city in the Abruzzo region – he spent the morning with Giovanni Minicucci, the founder of the pasta shop Chitarra Antica, making spaghetti alla chitarra in the traditional way. He then rustled up a quick fresh tomato and chilli pasta sauce – the type that every Italian makes at home.

So simple, yet so delicious. If you can’t find spaghetti alla chitarra, use any good-quality spaghetti for this dish.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

– 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
– 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
– 2 or 3 pinches of dried chilli flakes
– 300g fresh red cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
– 120ml dry white wine
– 500g dried spaghetti alla chitarra
– Handful (about 40g) of rocket leaves
– Salt

DIRECTIONS

Put the garlic in a large cold frying pan. Add the oil and place the pan over a medium heat. As soon as the garlic begins to brown, add the chilli flakes.

Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously, until slightly softened. Season with salt. Increase the heat, pour in the wine and simmer for about 2 minutes until it has evaporated. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes.

Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling, salted water until al dente. Remove the pasta from the water using tongs or a spaghetti spoon and put it directly in the pan with the tomatoes without draining. Stir thoroughly to combine. Drizzle with a little extra oil, add the rocket and toss together. Serve immediately.

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