Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian pasta’

Sicilian cart drivers pasta, apparently–in olden times.

Certainly brightens up a person’s day, after a long haul–see “post meal” image below!


Long haul–just arrived in town…

Summer fare often made with uncooked ingredients that are in season–new garlic, fresh basil and ripe tomatoes. In winter switch to tinned tomatoes–drained.


It is simple and quick.

Presumably there were as many versions as there were carts and horses–this time the sauce is cooked for a short time to let the hint of heat kick in and the garlic to meld.


for 4

  • 6 tblsp olive oil
  • 6 medium garlic cloves–chopped fine
  • a good handful of basil leaves–chopped
  • 1 small red chili–chopped
  • 700gms/1.5lbs fresh tomatoes–skinned and seeded then chopped.
  • salt and pepper
  • 400 gms spaghettini

Heat the oil in a medium pan.

Add the next five ingredients and cook them for fifteen minutes at a simmer.

Turn off the heat.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta.

Drain when done to your taste and add to the sauce.

IMG_8273Serve with grated parmesan if you wish (Meredith did); I was happy with the garlic and chili and a swirl of best olive oil.


my word that was tasty, let’s play some music!

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Our friend Helen is a natural cook.

She rarely uses recipe books; rather she builds a dish from the ingredients to hand–throwing in this and that from time to time with an instinctive sense of when it’s right.

I love watching her cook.

She prepared this pasta on our visit last year–a reviving lunch after a morning working in the olive grove.

It was creamily delicious–hard not to take another spoonful! It seems to get better and better just sitting on the table. How did she managed to make it turn out that way?

I asked her to cook it again for us this November–while I took notes.

She uses a variety of courgette/zucchini that is paler than those I find here and has raised ridges–ideal for catching the garlicky olive oil sauce.

No matter–I shall try this at home with the common dark green variety.

Here’s what she did:

for 4

a pound and a half/750gms zucchini/courgettes–sliced evenly

3 tblsps olive oil (their own!)

2 garlic cloves–peeled, crunched under a knife and roughly chopped

a pinch of chili powder–(Helen adds more when her son Lucio is expected for lunch. Sometimes she doesn’t add any when it’s just her and Keith.)

hot water


A handful of chopped parsley

400gms/16oz–wholewheat spiral pasta (or other shapes)

parmesan cheese to grate for those that like it

  • Helen sets plenty of water to boil for the pasta.
  • Then she heats the oil in a large sauté pan and adds the garlic, letting it take on some color.
  • Next she adds the courgettes and a tablespoon of hot water; she shakes the pan to coat the courgettes in the oil and sprinkles over some salt.

  • She leaves the mixture to cook gently on a lowish flame, jiggling it from time to time, for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • A little more salt and the parsley is added towards the end.

  • She cooks the pasta just before al dente, then drains it–saving some of the hot water.
  • She adds that water to the courgettes in the pan.

(Those additional tablespoons of hot pasta water prevent the dish from tasting too dry. )

  • She covers the pan until the moment of serving so the pasta stays moist and warm.
  • We enjoyed it with some grated parmesan–Helen leaves it as it is.

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