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There are some beautiful Mediterranean vibes going on in this dish – juicy ripe tomatoes, fresh fragrant basil and delicious olives, all tossed and tangled up in al dente spaghetti. The flavour combo here is mega-simple, but when you put them together, something magical happens. Let the tomatoes ripen naturally out of the fridge – the warmth will ensure all those lovely flavours and juices are at their best and ready to flow. Tomatoes are a source of vitamin C, a nutrient our bodies need for so many different things, including immune function and keeping our energy levels up.
Cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling salted water for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente, which means that it should be soft enough to eat, but still have a bit of bite and firmness to it.
On a large chopping board, chop the tomatoes. Bash the olives and tear out the stones, then add the olives to the pile of tomatoes.
Pick the basil leaves, reserving the smaller ones for later and throw the rest onto the pile.
Peel, chop and add the garlic to the pile, then run your knife back and forth through all of the ingredients, chopping and mixing as you go, until you get a rough-looking salsa.
Add a good couple of lugs of oil, the vinegar and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and keep chopping and mixing until well combined.
Scoop out and reserve a cupful of the pasta cooking water, then drain the spaghetti in a colander.
Pop the spaghetti in a large bowl, scrape in the salsa dressing, adding a splash of the reserved cooking water, if needed, to make a lovely loose sauce.
Sprinkle over the reserved baby basil leaves and add a grating of hard Italian cheese before serving.