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Vanity Fair - August

Published on 09.2019

It's 4pm. “What time should we be at yours?” A long-standing dinner I was hosting that I’d hoped everyone was ignoring loomed. I had forgotten how much work opening a restaurant was, and now I was deep in the throes of opening my second, and overwhelmed. But there’s nothing worse than using ‘busy with work’ as an excuse and, besides, I did really want to see them. Opening up my fridge yielded no inspiration, so I hoped a brisk walk to the shops would.

I was met with the most enormous display of tomatoes, so tomatoes it would be—something hearty, fresh and delicious. I didn’t have long and was reminded of a dish that my partner's mum, Lynne, had made me last year. It was simple, fresh and, most of all, quick. Tomatoes in a bath of peppery olive oil, garlic and salt, steeping for longer than they should, drawing out the sweetness and the juices. Toss in cooked pasta, fresh or dried, along with black olives, rocket and basil. The dish takes no time, which was perfect as my dilly dallying meant that I was running out of it. Prepare it while having your first drink and by your second, dinner is served with everyone around the table. Before you know it, you’re making plans for hosting another dinner again soon.

(Serves 4)  2 large ripe tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves
2 tbsp kalamata black olives, pitted
4 tbsp best quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp flaked sea salt
Black pepper
Small bunch basil
2 handfuls rocket
360g pasta, fresh or dry


Start by dicing your tomatoes and putting them in a medium sized mixing bowl. Finely sliced and lightly crush your garlic before adding to the tomatoes.

Season well with the flaked sea salt and pour over the olive oil. Set aside for 20 mins. You’ll start to see the juices pulled from the tomatoes making it rich, buttery and sweet with the olive oil.

Tear your olives roughly and add to the mix.

Cook your pasta in well salted water. Once it’s finished, drain 90 per cent of the water away and, keeping a small amount, return the pasta to the pan.

Pour in the tomato mix and toss together off the heat.

Serve in four pasta bowls and finish with fresh rocket, lots of basil and a little more olive oil and a good helping of parmesan.