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Pasta Puttanesca for the Summer Solstice

Spin and sing, spin and sing
Half year out, half year in,
Earth at full must spiral in

The longest day, the shortest night, the night of midsummer dreaming.  Happy solstice everyone! Today is the longest day of the year in the southern hemisphere and the shortest in the northern hemisphere, and it’s been a traditional festival for a lot longer than 2011 years.  For me, it marks the start of holidays, a few weeks with some time with family, community and friends, some time visiting, some time at the beach, some time for standing back and thinking about the meaning of life.

In these longest days it is good to remember to relax and enjoy life. It is good to connect with all our senses, to feel the sheer physical joy of being. Which is a bit tricky in the southern hemisphere, where the summer solstice is overlaid with the traditional northern hemisphere mid-winter traditions.

Tonight is a community dinner before everyone heads off for Christmas with family.  It’s such a busy time though, the summer solstice dinner needs to be low, low, low stress.  So tonight’s theme is “Bring a pasta sauce and dress in something that sparkles”. Lots of candles to catch the sparkles, a big pot of pasta, a dozen or more sauces to try on it, wonderful friends. I am looking forward to a magical celebration.

The Recipe:

“Whore’s style” (that’s what it means in Italian!) pasta sauce is a perfect way to capture the sensuality of the season! Not so much a recipe as a concept:

Lots of garlic, fresh and new season.
Lots of the first of the summer’s sun-ripe tomatoes, at their best from now on.
Lots of strong salty flavours in anchovies, olives, and/or capers.
And not much else – keep it pure and direct kind of flavours .

For this pan-full I have ready to take tonight, I sauteed an onion in a good swig of good olive oil.  Added five or six cloves of garlic and about 20 of last year’s olives, mixed green and black, roughly chopped. Then a tin of anchovies, oil and all and a couple of dessertspoons of capers.  (You can leave the anchovies out if you are vegetarian – just add more olives). Then a good double handful of very ripe tomatoes.  Cooked it down till the tomatoes started to dissolve and thicken, then added just a little finely chopped basil and another good double handful of halved tomatoes.  Cooked that until the second batch of tomatoes softened but still remained intact.

Simple, fast, and glorious.

Season’s greetings, everyone!


{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Linda December 23, 2011, 12:10 pm

    Oh Yum! And I love the sound of your celebration. The Summer Soltice seems more important to me over the last couple of years, as I have come to realise how important the seasons are in our lives. Have fun!

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