Do you still make as many pasta dishes as you used to? Somehow it has fallen out of fashion somewhat. Rather than the regular pasta night each week, it seems that pasta is more a once-a-month dish. And the fall-back pasta types are spaghetti – thick or thin – or fettuccine. Recently, at an Italian restaurant, I had an amazing macaroni dish and yet I can’t recall the last time I had macaroni. Not even a mac and cheese!
Coincidentally I now have an amazing Italian providore close by, one that holds an amazing array of different pastas, which I vow to explore one by one.
Rather than a hearty evening pasta supper, we have been eating pasta salads – they are so fresh and light, so very appealing, so perfect for Spring and Summer weather. Herbs are growing in the garden after the winter cold – chives, basil, parsley, spring onions (scallions). There are chillies too and Thai basil. Lots of salad type greens that can stand up to a little pasta – baby spinach, rocket, lettuce varieties.
Light Pasta Lunches | Pasta Salads
Recently we have been using Italian Orzo – a rice shaped pasta – and Pearl Couscous style pasta – larger round grains of pasta, for lovely, quick, light and tasty lunches.
Take one lovely day. Open the wine. Cook some Israeli Couscous, orzo or pasta labelled Pearl Couscous (not true Israeli couscous, but a delightful pasta in its own right. Available in the pasta section of the Supermarket or perhaps at your Italian shop.)
While it is cooking, char or caramelise some cherry tomatoes.
Take the warm pasta and stir through a couple of tablespoons of fresh ricotta. Add the caramelised cherry tomatoes and a handful of chopped herbs. Drizzle with a good extra virgin olive oil and add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If desired, grate some wonderful salty pecorino over the salad. If you are game, add a little fresh red chilli, chopped finely. Or perhaps use. some hot banana capsicums.
Taste the salad and adjust salt and pepper, and chilli if needed. Some finely grated lemon rind can be added, even a squeeze of lemon juice.
Top up your wine. Serve the salad on a lovely dish.
Sit outside in the beautiful sunshine and enjoy with your best friend.