If you plan to cook the spaghetti and make this sauce in order to eat it right away, start the spaghetti first, and while you are waiting for the water to boil, begin making the sauce. The spaghetti cooking and the sauce making should both be finished at about the same time. Then all you will have to do is toss the sauce and spaghetti together, serve it on plates or in bowls, sit down, take a deep breath, and eat.
Yield: 1½ cups (enough for 5 or 6 cups cooked pasta)
1 large clove garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
2 green onions (scallions)*
2 large ripe tomatoes, or 5 or 6 small roma tomatoes
4 sprigs parsley
6 fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
Large Mixing Bowl
Paring Knife or 8-inch Serrated Knife
Put the clove of garlic on a cutting board and give it a whack with the bottom of a small skillet. You’ll see that smashing it loosens the outer peel of the garlic clove so that you can now easily take it off and discard it. Sprinkle the ¼ teaspoon salt over the garlic and chop the garlic into tiny pieces. The salt captures some of the garlic juices, which adds to the flavor of your sauce. Put the garlic and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Cut about 2 inches off from the coarse tops of the 2 green onions and discard them. Cut away any little roots on the bottom white part. Put the green onions side by side and slice them crosswise into small pieces. Add them to the garlic in the bowl.
With the point of a small paring knife, cut the small round stem end of the tomatoes and pry out the core. Discard it.
Cut the tomatoes in half from top to bottom, and put them cut side down on a cutting board. Cut each half crosswise into 4 or 5 slices. Turn the slices flat on the board and cut them into small pieces. Add them to the bowl.
Bunch the 4 sprigs of parsley together and chop them into small pieces. Stack the 6 basil leaves, one on top of the other, and cut them lengthwise into about 3 or 4 strips, then turn them and cut into small pieces. Add the parsley and the basil to the bowl.
Now add the 3 tablespoons olive oil to the bowl and toss everything together gently, using your clean hands or a large spoon. Taste; if more salt is needed, sprinkle a little over the top of all the ingredients. Toss to mix the salt all around. If you are going to use this sauce later, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
* In the west, we call scallions “green onions.” In the east, we call green onions “scallions.” But all you have to remember is that scallions and green onions are long, skinny vegetables with long, green floppy tops and little white bulbs with roots on the bottom—and they are good to eat raw.