Pasta alla vesuviana (Spicy pasta)
- 25 min
- Kcal 285
A super-quick pasta dish featuring cherry tomatoes, cheese and plenty of fresh basil. The recipe for pasta allo scarpariello, a quick and tasty pasta dish that is deep-rooted in Neapolitan tradition, emerged decades ago in the alleyways of the Quartieri Spagnoli district in Naples. These were the days of the scarpari, or old shoemakers, who were sometimes paid for their craftsmanship with whatever their customers had in their pantries. That’s how this quick and tasty dish with a simple and authentic sauce was born, using whatever pieces of cheese were available, the tomato sauce left over from the day before (the Neapolitan ragù), and some basil leaves. The practice of making pasta allo scarpariello with fresh tomatoes has come to be “accepted” over the years, and here we make it with Datterino tomatoes that are left to cook gently and seasoned with Pecorino and Parmigiano cheese that will really envelope the spaghetti for a deliciously creamy sauce. Pasta allo scarpariello is a real treat for the taste buds, thanks mainly to the quality of the ingredients used. In some parts of Campania, it’s also made with scialatielli pasta and yellow tomatoes. For an even heartier version, however, we recommend making it with ziti lardiati, made with ziti pasta, tomato, and, of course, lard!
If you fancy experimenting with a slightly spicy first-course dish, then we suggest trying our pasta with nduja sausage and pecorino cheese!
To make your pasta allo scarpariello, start by heating a saucepan with water to cook the pasta. Once the water is boiling, add a little salt. Take the Datterino tomatoes, wash them and slice them in half 1, then take the long fresh chili pepper, trim it and open it up to remove the seeds 2, before slicing it into strips and chopping it 3.
Grate the Pecorino Romano 4 and Parmigiano cheeses. Pour the extra virgin olive oil into a large pot and heat. Add the chopped chili and the whole peeled garlic so it will be easier to remove 5. Fry for around 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the datterino tomatoes 6, and cook over medium heat for around 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil the spaghetti 7 until it is cooked al dente. Once the tomato sauce is ready, season with salt, remove the garlic 8, and add some of the basil leaves 9. Add a ladleful of cooking water to create a delicious creamy texture.
Drain the spaghetti, keeping a couple of ladlefuls of cooking water aside, and pour the pasta directly into the pot with the sauce 10. Finish cooking in the pan over medium-low heat, mixing the spaghetti into the sauce and adding cooking water 11 if necessary, so that the sauce is creamy. Turn off the heat and add the grated Pecorino and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses 12 in several stages, alternating them with more cooking water as needed
and stirring constantly so the cheese doesn’t go stringy 13. Flavor again with some basil leaves 14. Serve the pasta allo scarpariello immediately, adding more fresh basil to each plate 15.
This pasta allo scarpariello is best eaten immediately.
Any kind of storage is not recommended.
You may choose to use a different type of pasta, preferably a long or fresh variety, such as scialatielli, that will hold the sauce well, or to use tomato steaks or yellow tomatoes.
It’s best to stir well and continuously as you add the grated cheeses, alternating them with the cooking water from the pasta to keep the cheese from congealing.