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The secret of cooking is sometimes just to combine simplicity and perfect ingredients. Our tomatoes are brilliant right now, especially the cherry of baby varieties, and we are inundated with basil. Here is Italy at its best. A brilliant light supper – serve with a small amount of pasta* and a light chilled wine.

Materials (for 4 people).

  • Olive oil.
  • 2 sweet onions chopped.
  • 2 elephant garlic cloves chopped.
  • 2 dozen baby tomatoes.
  • ¼ sachet Splenda sweetener.
  • Pinch of chilli flakes.
  • 2 handfuls basil chopped.
  • 2 dozen jumbo shrimp peeled.
  • ½ cup parmesan shaved.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • The freshest possible pasta*


  1. Sweat the onions and garlic in a little olive oil in a covered skillet (5 minutes).
  2. Cut each tomato in half, dust very lightly with the salt, pepper and sweetener.
  3. Add tomatoes to the skillet, cover and sweat together (5-10 minutes) till the juices run and mix.
  4. Transfer the onion mix to line the bottom of a ceramic oven dish and sprinkle with half the chopped basil.
  5. Toss the shrimp in olive oil, a little salt, pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes.
  6. Add the shrimp on top of the onion mix, sprinkle with the remaining chopped basil and finish with the shaved parmesan.

When you are ready to finish the dish:

  1. Heat the oven to 450f and then roast uncovered for 30 minutes. Complete by browning the top under the grill for a few minutes.* Serve with the freshest pasta cooked according to its instructions. I have for years overdone the pasta. Like many Italian dishes, this is a light joy – it does not need more than the lightest handful of pasta for each serving.