Beauty of simplicity – pasta based on regional products

There is nothing innovative in saying that simple and good tastes will always defend themselves. Natural flavours and freshness are key to culinary success. Producers of allegedly healthy food of course rub their hands at the thought of pretty large profits, but I guess none of them is pleased to look in the mirror in the morning. They rather do it with disdain.

I’d like to eat truly tasteful and good food, and I have several places where I can do so marked on my culinary map. And it’s not about sophisticated cuisine with mousses, sous vide or dishes you don’t even know how to approach in the case of those restaurants. It’s about tastefulness only. But at the same time hats off to culinary artists. Unfortunately, many chefs forget about the basics or simply cannot cook at all but still start educating Poles as far as cooking is concerned. This is why I’m waiting patiently for reality to verify all those culinary authorities of dubious quality that came to the top because of the fashion for cooking. Cooking programmes promoted people who hadn’t even thought about themselves in these categories several years before. Well, the magic of television…

The only good thing about this whole chaos is that we start talking, exchanging experiences, looking for new tastes and appreciating the quality of products. The way we flavour the food we prepare doesn’t matter. After all, each of us has acquired different taste habits in childhood. It is the appropriate selection of ingredients that is the essence of good cooking, their origin and freshness. All the rest is pure imagination, which knows no limits in our nation.

Good olive oil means most of all the scent of freshly cut grass and the touch of distinct bitterness. Olive oil likes peace and darkened areas with room temperature so you should keep it in a kitchen cupboard. As a matter of principle, it is worth smelling and tasting olive oil to check if they simply don’t try to deceive you. The colour practically doesn’t matter, which is why it is tested in blue or red cups. You have to put several drops in your mouth and, pouting your lips, suck the air inside. If the oil comes from early harvest, it can be extremely bitter, but don’t worry – it won’t kill you. The most delicate olive oil comes from late harvest.

And I’m not talking about olive oil from the third press, which is often called Sansa or Pomace. It’s produced from olive pomace, extracted from olive pulp after the press with the use of a solvent and refined. Doesn’t it sound forbidding? It’s an absolute tragedy that can be used only in a kerosene lamp. Unfortunately, many use this olive carcass not only in their houses, but also in restaurant kitchens with absolute conviction that “olive oil” in its name tackles the problem. But it can actually do only one thing – spoil the taste of the best slice of meat or the most delicious piece of fish. Of that I’m completely sure. Simple, good recipes and products – this is the direction our culinary perception should follow. Good extra-virgin olive oil can be used not only as an ingredient.

I have one recipe in mind, which is probably known to all novice chefs. Spaghetti with garlic, chilli and parsley. Simply chop the garlic and chilli, fry them with olive oil and add al dente pasta. Then mix everything with chopped parsley and voila! I additionally garnish it with freshly grated Parmesan. Several minutes and dinner for your family or friends is ready.

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But I admit that olive oil is best when you gently soak good white bread with it and add some salt plus, for those who like original tastes, a bit of balsamic vinegar.

It’s not worth looking for a countless number of structures and tastes in home cooking. Uncomplicated dishes don’t prove our lack of knowledge, quite the opposite. It will suffice to cook guided by your heart and intuition. It’s undoubtedly a reason good enough to feel like the icing on the cake.

Text: Kamil Sadkowski

Photos: Joanna Ogórek

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