Balsamic vinegar – or aceto balsamico – comes from the Latin word balsamum, meaning restorative or curative. Genuine balsamic vinegar is an artisan product from Modena in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region. It is made from a reduction of cooked grape juice which is allowed to ferment and then, for a minimum of 12 years, matured in barrels. The result is dark, rich and syrupy condiment that is used very sparingly. For the real deal, always look for the marking ‘tradizionale’ or DOC, and these products tend to be very expensive. You can also buy the more affordable, industrially made ‘aceto balsamico di Modena’, which isn’t aged for so long. Very cheap balsamic vinegars have been colored and flavored with caramel, and don’t have the authentic intensity of flavor. Together with oil, balsamic vinegar is an excellent dressing, but you can also drizzle some over roasted chicken and duck, or tuna steaks.
penne rigate pasta
3-5 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cucumber, sliced
200 gr/7 oz mozzarella, in cubes
a bunch of fresh basil leaves
1 can of tuna fish (in water)
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely shredded
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the penne rigate, or some other pasta of your choice, al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain, and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, slice all the vegetables and the mozzarella. Mix the already cooled down pasta with the vegetables, mozzarella, fresh basil, the drained tuna and the anchovies. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing and drizzle some over each plate.