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Neapolitan pasta salad

  • 15 minutes
  • Easy
  • First Courses
A fresh and quick pasta made with the best Neapolitan ingredients.

Ingredients: Per 4 servings

  • ¾ lb penne
  • ½ lb plum tomatoes
  • 5 oz buffalo-mozzarella cheese
  • 2 fillets salted anchovies
  • 2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 basil leaves
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain one minute before the time indicated on the package.

Then transfer the pasta to a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil. Let cool.

In the meantime, drain and thinly slice the mozzarella. Thoroughly wash the anchovies.

Then debone them, roughly chop and place in a salad bowl. Wash and quarter the tomatoes and tear apart the basil leaves by hand.

Add the mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, oil, salt and pepper to the bowl with the anchovies.

Toss everything together then add the pasta and toss again. Serve at your preferred temperature.

Food History

It is almost impossible to imagine traditional Italian food without the tomato: there wouldn’t by spaghetti with tomato sauce or pizza Margherita, nor would there be many other recipes that have made Italian cuisine famous throughout the world. It is funny to think that tomatoes were introduced to Italy relatively recently. The first tomato plants were actually brought to Europe in the 16th century.  Cortès brought a plant back with him from one of his trips to America where tomatoes had been grown in the areas of modern day Messico and Peru for centuries. Tomatoes finally arrived in Italy a couple of decades later, probably first appearing in the Florentine court of the Medici family.
Initially, however, the tomato was grown for consumption. The Spanish used it as a decorative plant. At the time, people believed that tomatoes were poisonous due to their high solanine content, which was demonstrated by various scientific tests.
It is likely that tomatoes were first eaten by the poor in times of scarcity. Back then, tomatoes were fried in oil and then seasoned with salt and pepper, just like eggplants (another vegetable rich in solanine.) 
it wasn’t until the mid 18th century, however, that the recipe for tomato sauce was brought to Italy from Spain. This recipes appears in Vincenzo Corrado’s cookbook “Il cuoco galante”. 
Thanks to this preparation, the habit of eating tomatoes spread across the Italian peninsula, where it has been served in combination with pasta and pizza since the 19th century.

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