Spaghetti with barely cooked tomato, red onion and basil sauce.

As you may or may not have noticed, throughout the week lunch is often the proper meal in our house.

You may also have noticed it is very often pasta.

barely cooked lunch

I say proper in the sense that it’s the meal we – a nocturnal musician and erratic teacher – who would both rather work late than rise early – are nearly always together for, the one we cook together, occasionally argue over, the one we try to linger over, at least for a while. It’s all usally pretty simple. but then I prefer my pasta that way. I prefer my life that way.

This is another trusted favourite, hearty but clean and fresh, perfect for balmy days and all the luscious red, tomato shaped, and basil scented produce June is providing.


It is perfectly simple. And quite delicious. And barely cooked.

Well, that is not entirely true, there is a little cooking involved but I will come to that in a minute.

Ingredients are nicely basic, but need to be really really top notch otherwise it will be disappointing,

  • 4 large, ripe, really flavoursome tomatoes
  • a red onion, peeled and sliced in half-moons
  • 5 or so torn basil leaves
  • some good olive oil.
  • 200g good spaghetti
  • Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil to dribble over pasta
  • extra basil leaves for on top if you so wish.

barely cooked ingredients

First you plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for about a minute and then you plunge them into cold water, pull them out and the skins should come away easily. Cut away the hard cental core and then chop the tomatoes into unruly chunks.

Bring a large pan of well salted water to a fast boil. Meanwhile in a shallow pan, saute the half-moons of red onions in some extra virgin olive oil, slowly and gently over a low flame for about 15 minutes, until they are soft and just starting to caramelize. Now you add the unruly chunks of peeled, deseeded tomatoes and the torn basil leaves to the onion and raise the heat for just a couple of minutes, stirring and turning so the tomatoes are, well, barely cooked.

Meanwhile, you have been cooking your pasta – garofalo spaghetti alla chitarra is great for this – until it is al dente.

Drain pasta, toss with onion, tomato and basil

Serve in warm bowls with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan and more olive oil.

barely cooked plate

Eat, linger if possible.


Filed under food, pasta and rice, recipes, vegetables

15 responses to “Spaghetti with barely cooked tomato, red onion and basil sauce.

  1. PERFECT. I am so jealous that you guys can pore over lunch together. I wish lunch could be our proper meal. But Manley is always at work then, of course. C’est la vie or whatever.

  2. Thanks for your comment Rachel 🙂
    It’s funny because I recently discovered your blog and have been coming away jealous of your sunshine and lazy lunches… as well as loving the shot from above photography style.

    Would love to know what you’ve made from my blog and if it works!

  3. This looks like just the perfect thing for a warm Summer evening with a glass of rose:) Simple and barely cooked really is the best for Summer!

  4. Counting the days until dead-ripe red so I can barely-cook.

    I’m hoping there’s a third chair at your beckoning table.

  5. lovely lovely lovely…

  6. oh hell yeah. you are so right on w/ how perfect and simple this is. tomatoes have to be at their peak for this to be pulled off correctly. i can’t wait till mine are ready.

    also you use garofalo – you really do use it! when we reviewed it you told me you used it and, i guess, in the way back of my head, i kind of thought you were being nice. very cool.

  7. dinner tonight – with burrata
    and maybe some kinda cured pork thing

    so much for light and fresh!

    but see? i needed you…

  8. My kind of meal (as I imagine you know by now!). Nothing like a nice lunch with your hunny.

  9. Fantastic photos as always, Rachel.

    My family always made this one without onions but with a touch of garlic — and heavier on the basil. But it’s a summer classic. The other summer classic I drool over is tomatoes sliced thin and marinated in garlic, really good olive oil and a little salt. Then you add tons of chopped fresh basil, stir and let the heat of the day wilt the basil for a little while. Serve with crusty bread to sop up all the juices. Mmmm.

  10. In Nashville, the tomatoes are Just About to come in; some farmers have had a few “early girls” for sale—just enough to give a hint of all the good things to come….
    (by July4th, all manner of tomato abounds!)
    I love this post—and this recipe—the hardly cooked sauce of juicy reds with all that basil is a perfect summer pleasure.

  11. Hihihi, very naughty of me, but I picture you taking the first three pictures of that post, perched on a chair 🙂
    Ah, the joys of foodblogging…

    • rachel

      yes colloquial cook, I perch on chairs alot, we also have a ladder in our kitchen and I have been known to scale that too. I only occasionally fall off.

  12. This is what I love – simple, classic, perfect.

  13. Pingback: cook eat FRET - spaghetti with burrata and other good things

  14. Pingback: Mezze maniche pasta with tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, chilli and rocket. « rachel eats

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