Food has a way of connecting to so much more than just a simple meal, certain tastes and smells can evoke memories and emotions, a bite of something delicious can whisk you back to long passed moments, old fashioned vanilla icecream and summer days as a small child waiting patiently as arm after arm were exhausted churning a few ingredients into something magical.
Sometimes these connections can also be difficult, for a long time this pasta dish fell in the latter, it reminded me of tough times as a kid it reminded me of hardship. Then during Covid a strange thing happened, I found myself trying to recreate the dish, 32 years after the last time I had eaten it, my dad the maker of the dish has long been gone, but I remember it being simple with only a few ingredients so it didn’t take much to get it right.
No longer was it something I remembered sadly, in a time when everything seemed so madly upside down, I was reminded of how this simple pasta dish had been central to so many good memories, it reminded me of home, of being safe when things didn’t make sense, of family, of always making it through even when you thought you never would. I was reminded that life didn’t have to be perfect to be good.
Story aside, this pasta dish is wonderful for so many reasons, its quick, delicious, simple, infinitely adaptable and a tasty inexpensive way to feed a family. It is a heady blend of garlic, olive oil and loads of tomato paste, it’s a punchy sunny pesto and whilst this recipe uses parmesan I recall as a kid whatever was on hand was a good cheese to use.
Thank you dad..
60ml olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely sliced not chopped
200gms tomato paste
Pinch of dried chilli (optional)