Andrea Camillieri's Inspector Salvo Montalbano is a peculiar character and a favorite TV series in my household. I don't remember how many seasons or how many episodes are there, but we have watched them all, including the spin off The Young Montalbano which is as great as the original.
Two peculiarities of Salvo Montalbano are, one that he does not talk while eating (not a word in a whole dinner or lunch for example, regardless of who is with him) and that he loves Sicilian food. As a fact, he is a true Sicilian and loves all about this place. I share Montalbano's personality in two areas: one he has a sense of humor and he loves food.
In each episode you will always see how a different dish is either prepared for him, eaten at his favorite restaurant or is prepared by him. There is a huge emphasis on his love for food but, believe it or not, there is not one single book (a descent book, though) that contains his recipes (contrary to Inspector Brunetti's, who has a great cook book), so trying to cook something I want to replicate takes tons of research, mostly in Italian. The dishes are not designed for the show but Sicilian and some are simple, like this one and other ones are quite complicated -like the Cassatta that is in this blog).
I will start a section dedicated to Montalbano's food in my blog and hopefully Camilieri or his family, publisher or lawyers don't come after me. At the end is Sicilian food, but my reference is him and his food.
This is a terrific dish. It is simple to do and quite different to other recipes that I have done (like the Cherry Tomato Pasta). It is delicious, so it is my opening of a new page on my blog.
To Camilieri, to Salvo and to all who love food!
Montalbano's Tomato and Black Olives Pasta (Pasta al pomodoro e olive)
Cooking Time: 40 Minutes Makes 4 servings
800 g Tomatoes (I use small tomatoes, golf ball size but not cherry tomatoes)
100 ml Olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed
100 g black olives, pitted and halved
- Salt to taste (I used raspberry salt)
400 g Cavatappi or Fusilli pasta
- Basil, chopped
- Parmesan cheese
1. Chop the tomatoes (in my case I cut them in quarters) leaving skin and seeds and stir together with the oil, crushed garlic and olives in a metal bowl big enough to eventually hold the pasta. Season with salt (I used raspberry salt just to add a bit of extra flavor)
2. Leave the bowl at room temperature to macerate for at least half a day (prepare in the morning, cover with plastic film and leave it there..to do its magic)
3. In a large pot, put water to boil and cook the pasta (as it is short cut extruded pasta it will take about 12 to 15 minutes to be ready. Check after 10 minutes so you don’t overcook it) AND place the bowl that contains the tomato mix on top of the large pot if possible, otherwise use a medium size pot, put some water and heat it up, then place on top the tomato mix, as we don’t want to actually cook it, but just warm it up).
4. Drain the pasta when is almost done (not undercook but almost cooked) and then add it to the tomato bowl. Move the big bowl to a side, mix it up perfectly and add the basil.
5. Serve with some parmesan cheese on top.
You can actually eat this pasta cold and it will be as delicious as when you eat it warm.
I don't know which episode this dish belongs to...