Over the weekend I had a chance to catch some of the television cooking shows that seem to proliferate on television today. I watched Chef Bobby Flay, Chef Andres from Spain and Washington, DC., Chef Ming Tsai and of course the man himself, Chef Emeril Lagasse. They are all great and accomplished in their careers. I love to watch them and marvel at what they seem to create out of thin air. The television cook genre has exploded in recent years and I think that this is good for the food and cooking industry as a whole. People who never had an interest in cooking at home can now watch an Emeril or Bobby Flay and try to emulate what they do at home. This is a good thing, really!
Television chefs are wonderful to watch and present wonderful entertainment. This article spotlights an everyday home cook who never saw the bright lights but sure could cook up a storm in the kitchen. Mama Teresita was the grandmother of my childhood friend while I was growing up in Chicago, Illinois. Mama T. came from Sicily, Italy when she was a young girl way back in the day, probably in the 1920-1930’s. All the neighborhood children loved to hang out on the porch and play while she hung laundry or swept the walk. There always seemed to be delightful, hearty smells coming from the kitchen. I would always accept immediately when I was invited over for dinner. I may have spent more time at their house than I did my own. Mama T. never used a cookbook or a recipe card that I know of. Italian pasta, veal and sausage, soup, and bread all seemed to effortlessly appear at the table. I once asked Mama T. what cookbook she used and she looked at me as if I were a ghost. No cookbook. Recipes were handed down from family to family over hundreds of generations.
If Mama T. ever had the need to use a recipe or look at a cookbook, this wonderful old-world style Italian pasta dish would probably come close to what she use to make. It is simple, hearty, and light on the budget.
Pasta With Fresh Tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Pasta of choice
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl combine olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, basil, and cheese and mix well.
3. Cook pasta until al dente, about 1-2 minutes. Immediately drain and toss with tomato mixture; serve immediately.