Capunti Pasta with Basil and Tomato

Capunti Pasta is a country pasta from Puglia in the Southern part of Italy – one of the several open pasta shapes that originate in that area. It is great for holding robust sauces, but also for very simple accompaniments that highlight the flavours of the pasta and other ingredients.

Today, the basil is looking beautiful, and I do love pasta with tomatoes in summer, so we brought them together for a great dish for a light summery lunch.

You might like to have a look at similar dishes. Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato, and Elegant Orzo Pasta with Wilted Spinach and Pine Nuts.

All of our Pasta recipes are here, or browse our Italian recipes. Read about different pastas, including Capunt. Perhaps we have other Capunti recipes. Or take some time to browse our Early Summer recipes.

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Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans | Israeli Couscous Pilaf with Broad Beans

Mograbieh is a large couscous/pasta in the shape of pearls. Similar products are known by various names – Ptitim, Israeli Couscous, Jerusalem Couscous, Pearl Couscous, Ben-Gurion rice, Maftoul, Lebanese Couscous, Giant Couscous, and more. It is also similar to the Kabyle Abazine and the Sardinian Fregula.

Although they can be used interchangeably, technically speaking, there are some differences between the products of different countries. Some are an extruded pasta, similar to Italian orzo, made with semolina and flour which is toasted to dry. This one has a nuttier flavour than normal couscous. One type is Ptitim, or Israeli Couscous, is a type of toasted pasta and shaped either like rice-grains or little balls and was developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce.

Others, like Mograbieh (Lebanese) and Maftoul (Palestinian), are rolled and dried large couscous pearls about the size of tapioca pearls, and when cooked they have a chewy buttery flavour and are larger than Israeli Couscous. These starchy pasta balls swell and become soft and chewy when cooked and are fantastic at absorbing the flavours of the dish they are cooked in.

Sadly, the globalisation of food has meant that differences get smoothed over, and names get mixed, or all the variations merge into one product. Locally, for a long time I was only able to find the extruded pasta type, but more recently a local Afghan shop stocks the best Mograbieh. The pics show the extruded type – I will update when I make this dish again.

For this recipe, a celebration of Spring, use any of these types, cook it with saffron and add broad beans and chilli. You can even use Italian orzo pasta or risoni if you wish.

Are you perhaps after Broad Bean recipes? Try French Braised Lettuce, Peas and Broad Beans, Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Tawa Broad Beans.

Also try our Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing.

You might like to browse our Middle Eastern recipes, our Israeli recipes and our Orzo recipes. Enjoy all of our Late Spring recipes here.

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Orecchiette with Broad Beans | Pasta and Broad Beans

Orecchiette is a little shell shaped pasta, delicious and sourced from my newly-found Italian providore not far from our new house. It’s a delightful little shop, family run, with the most warm, friendly and helpful staff. As I stocked up with supplies I was asked what I was cooking and we discussed recipes and methods for ages.

Broad Beans are my passion of the moment, food-wise. Neglected for all of the other years of my life, we are also very fortunate to have an Italian-owned green grocery close by. So Broad Beans are there by the big box full every week, and now we grow our own also. I have fallen in love with this little green, grassy tasting fresh bean. It has been great to see the season through, from the tiny new pods, to the larger, more mature pods later in the season, and to adapt recipes as the season progresses.

Similar recipes include Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans, Penne with Broad Beans and Ricotta, Broad Beans with Feta and Preserved Lemon, and Broad Beans with Crispy Garlic.

Also try Capunti Pasta with Basil and Tomatoes.

You might like to look at our other Broad Bean recipes. Browse our Italian recipes here as well. Our Pasta recipes are here. Or take time out and explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Penne con Fave e Ricotta | Penne with Broad Beans and Ricotta

What a delight Spring must be in Italy! I can only imagine. And tucked amongst the dishes served outside on South Italian hillside terraces is this dish that marries pasta, broad beans and ricotta. I also use the soft Persian style feta that I get locally from an Afghani grocery shop. It is divine.

Use Penne Rigate if you can find it, the ridges on it retain the pasta sauces really really well. For the broad beans, double peel them unless they are really, really young.

Similar recipes include French Braised Lettuce, Peas and Broad Beans, Orecchiette with Broad Beans, Broad Bean and Mint Dip, Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, and Pan Fried Broad Bean Salad.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes, and all of our Italian dishes. Our Pasta dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Spring collection of recipes.

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Pasta alla Crudaiola | Pasta with a Raw Tomato Sauce

Yay for simple pasta dishes. We have a few recipes for such dishes, and most of them feature tomatoes in some form. Tomatoes are so easy to chop and add to pasta with some olive oil, garlic and basil. A bit of parmesan. And a tasty dish is born.

While the base ingredients are almost the same in the simple dishes, the way they are treated will vary, and that changes the dish. This recipe uses those base ingredients but they are chopped finely to make a sort of uncooked sauce. It is mixed with ricotta and left for an hour for the flavours to develop. Easy. Good.

This dish goes well with any pasta, really. Use short ones, curly ones or long strands. Spaghetti and bucatini are particularly good, and I love it with Penne. It is best made in Summer, or early Autumn, when our Australian tomatoes are at their best.

Are you looking for other Pasta dishes? Try Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper, Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, and Pasta with Chilli and Olive Oil.

And why not make your own Pasta? How to Make Eggless Pasta.

You can browse all of our Pasta dishes, our many Tomato dishes, and all of our Italian recipes. Or simply browse our Early Autumn dishes.

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Beautiful Buttered Orzo Pasta

Orzo is a tiny rice-shaped Greek pasta, not to be confused with barley which in Italy is also called orzo. When you see Orzo called for in a recipe, you always have to think twice! Is it pasta or is it barley? Sometimes it is not very clear.

In this recipe orzo Pasta is simply cooked and then bathed in butter. It is a delicious way to serve it, either as an accompaniment to other dishes (perhaps a replacement for rice), or tossed with herbs and cheese as a snack. We also love it with some cream and breadcrumbs added as well.

Orzo is available from Greek groceries, and can be found in Italian groceries under the name of riso, risoni, orzo, and rosmarino. The difference is in size. Riso is very small and rosmarino is larger than orzo.

Similar recipes include Pasta with Tomato and Salted Ricotta, Elegant Orzo Salad with Spinach, and Rice with Orzo. Also try Fava.

Browse all of our Orzo recipes and all of our Pasta dishes. Our Greek recipes are here and Italian ones here. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

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Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint

Celebrate Spring with Broad Beans

This has been the year of the Broad Bean in our household. A rarely used vegetable before last year, it is again a focus for us this Spring – we found that we actually love Broad Beans. Our local Italian green grocery near our new house has large amounts of them – something that our inner-city grocery did not carry, even during Spring – so it is easy for us to celebrate this humble bean.

When you buy broad beans, young and fresh is best – they have a sheen on the pod, and will be bright green, crisp to the touch and without any black marks or blemishes. Pods are usually about 10cm long.

This pasta dish celebrates all that is Spring. Fresh and herby, it is a delight. We have used broad beans here, but it could easily use asparagus, peas or the last of the globe artichokes of the season. Or use them all together!

Remember to double-peel broad beans. Remove them from the pod, then scald them for around 30 – 60 seconds. Place in cold water then drain. With a sharp small knife make a nick in the top or side of each bean and slip it out of its skin.

Are you after other Pasta recipes? First, check out our home made eggless pasta. And try Penne with Broad Beans and Ricotta, Rice and Orzo Pasta, Hand Made Pesto, and Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce.

Are you after other Broad Bean dishes? Try Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Tawa Broad Beans, Broad Bean and Butter Bean Spread, and Glorious Five Bean Salad.

Check out our other Broad Bean recipes, and other Pasta recipes. Our Italian dishes are here. Or take some time to explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese

Cabbage and Carbs always go well together, right? And this dish of cabbage with pasta is divine. It is a great cold weather dish, and perfectly good for any time of the year as a Sunday Supper. It is a rustic dish, but don’t let that dissuade you.

Sometimes I cook this dish and the family aren’t home yet, and I pick at it in the kitchen until there is a definite hole in the side. It is so delicious with the nutty, slightly stretchy Emmental cheese. So easy to make just 3 ingredients – I cook the pasta and use the pasta water to blanch the cabbage. A few minutes assembly and into the oven it goes for about 20 mins – faster if you have a good fan forced oven. Take it bubbling to the table – your family will be begging for it again and again.

Truly, this dish almost needs a wood fire and a large glass of red. Eat on its own, with salads, or as an accompaniment to other dishes. Left overs are good fried up for breakfast! You could almost say that this comfort dish is NOT a Sydney dish. It is built for Melbourne and Adelaide, and all year round in Tassie. 🙂

Similar dishes include Potatoes and Cheddar Gratin, Baked Eggplant Steaks, and Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini.

Are you looking for Pasta dishes? First, check out our home made eggless pasta. Then try Pasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto, Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Pepper and Tomato, and Light Pasta Salad.

Or are you looking for Cabbage Recipes? Try Malaysian Lemak Style Vegetables, Nappa Cabbage Salad with Peanut Dressing, and Cabbage Thoran.

You might also like to browse all of our Cabbage recipes. All of our Pasta dishes are here. Or browse Baked recipes. Take some time to check out our easy Mid-Winter recipes.

Also browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006.

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Rocket Salad with Penne and Parmesan | Arugula Salad with Penne

Pasta salads are wonderful, don’t you think? Talking with my Italian Providore the other day, she wondered aloud why she and her staff didn’t bring them to work for lunch, instead of their usual sandwiches. And her question is a good one. This salad makes a perfect lunch time dish, an afternoon snack or a dinner accompaniment.

The trick with this salad is to make it a Rocket Salad with Penne, not a Penne Salad with Rocket. So the salad is heavy on rocket and light on penne. Mix it up if you wish, it would also be wonderful with different ratios, but if you are wanting your greens, I recommend trying it this way.

This is another Bittman Salad. After 3 years, we are nearly at the end of working our way through his 101 salads, making all of those that were vegetarian and modifying those that are not. There are about 13 more salads to make, and that feels so close to the end of our journey with Mark. But we shall be a little sad as we make the last one.

You might like to try other Bittman Salads. Try Roasted Sweetcorn and Avocado Salad, Fennel, Tomato and Potato Salad with Garlicky Mayonnaise, Vermicelli and Green Mango Salad, and Charred Tomato Salad with Mint and Lime. There are many, many more to come, in the queue to be published in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Or some other Pasta Salads? Try Light Pasta Salads, and Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Pinenuts.

Browse all of our Bittman Salads here (we have more in the queue for publishing over the coming months), and all of our Pasta Salads here. Explore all of our Pasta dishes (not just salads), and our Rocket recipes. Or simply browse our Early Winter dishes.

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Fettuccine con Cacio e Pepe | Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper

Simple is great, yes? Less is more. In this pasta dish, as with many others, it is the simplicity that shines and makes for a spectacular dish.

I have made it here with some home made eggless pasta that combines flour, semolina flour and chickpea flour and uses ground sesame seeds as a binding agent. It is pretty good, but of course this recipe can be made with any fettuccine or spaghetti.

Are you looking for Pasta dishes? Try Beautiful Buttered Orzo, Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, Penne with Broad Beans and Ricotta, Capunti Pasta with Basil and Tomatoes, Pasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto, Simple Pasta with Chilli and Olive Oil, and Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce. Don’t forget that home made eggless pasta.

Or perhaps you are after Italian fare? Try Risotto with Mushrooms, White Bean Soup and Grilled Fennel with Mozzarella.

You can browse all of our pasta dishes here, and all of our Italian recipes here. Or simply take some time to explore our Mid Autumn collection of recipes.

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Rice and Orzo

Orzo is petty good, don’t you agree? This little rice-shaped pasta has an elegance that eludes other pastas. I was delighted to find another way to cook this star in Jerusalem, the cookbook by Ottolenghi and Tamimi.

Rice is a staple of many of the communities of the Middle East and features in quite complex dishes as well as very simple ones. Quite often, other ingredients like chickpeas, vermicelli, potatoes, lentils and nuts are are cooked with the rice.

Spices are also used, for example the Bucharan Jews in Jerusalem use ginger, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon with mint, raisins and peas. How delicious!

In this recipe, the usual vermicelli is replaced by Ottolenghi and Tamimi by orzo. Don’t confuse this orzo with the Greek barley – it is the Italian pasta version. You can use vermicelli if you like, just don’t fry them as long as they will burn.

Are you looking for other Orzo recipes? Try Beautiful Buttered Orzo, and  Elegant Orzo Salad. You should also try Kosheri – Rice with Vermicelli and Lentils.

Perhaps you are looking for mixed rice dishes. Try Zucchini Rice, Mango Rice, and Pepper Rice.

We have several Middle Eastern Recipes to try. Beetroot with Yoghurt-Tahini, Saffron and Rosewater Scented Aubergine, and Beautiful Hummus.

Are you looking for more? Explore our Ottolenghi recipes, all of our Orzo dishes, our Rice recipes, and all of our Middle Eastern dishes. Or simply spend some time browsing our Mid Autumn collection of dishes.

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Pasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto

Using up the amount of zucchini from our garden takes some creativity. But having made Parsley Pesto, the thought of pasta, pesto and char grilled zucchini had me grilling tiny zucchini slices early one morning. A pasta lunch was in the making.

Its very easy, and any pasta can be used – spaghetti is great, but I chose to use pasta from the local Adelaide makers L’Abruzzese. I love this olive leaf pasta, tasty and slightly chewy, it has 3 colours – spinach, beetroot and regular.

If you are looking for more pasta recipes try Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper, Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, Pasta with Tomato and Salted Ricotta, and Elegant Orzo Pasta with Wilted Spinach and Pine Nuts. And check out our home made eggless pasta.

You might also like to read Why we Cook Pasta al dente.

Or perhaps some zucchini recipes – try Zucchini Rice, Zucchini Fry, and Poached with Other Vegetables in Wine.

Our pesto recipes include this Parsley Pesto as well as Asparagus Pesto, Coriander Pesto, and a mix and match approach.

Or browse all of our Zucchini Recipes, all of our Pasta Dishes, all of the Pesto recipes. Our Italian Recipes are here, or simply browse our Late Summer dishes.

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Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato

This dish combines the classic flavours of an Italian pasta dish.

Often a pasta dish is my go-to Saturday or Sunday night fare. With a friend from a good Italian commercial pasta making family, we are never short of good pasta. This dish combines the classic flavours of an Italian pasta dish. Use a great spaghetti, a thick one if you can, or thin if you cannot. Pasta shells work well also.

You might like to read Pasta with Soul – how long to cook pasta. Similar dishes include Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce, Pasta Aglio e Olio, and Pasta with Tomato and Basil.

Or try Char Grilled Banana Chillies Stuffed with Tomatoes and Spices.

Explore our other Pasta recipes, our Eggplant recipes and our Italian recipes. Or browse our easy Mid Winter recipes.

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Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce

Secrets from an Italian Kitchen

I have been reading the book The Everlasting Meal . The thing about The Everlasting Meal is that it has me thinking a lot about my approach to the kitchen. It resonates a lot. Yet, Tamar discusses a very Mediterranean-Italian approach to food so there are differences. I have been discussing her book with my Italian friends, and discovering more and more secrets. Like this one — and it amazes me that this is not general knowledge in Australia, given that we have adopted so much of the Italian approach to food here. Italian in Australia is like Indian in the UK.

One of her pieces of advice is to use cooking water over and over again, cooking from the least starchy to the most starchy. It sounds sensible, doesn’t it, yet even in my childhood home which must have been one of the most frugal around, even in my Grandmother’s home where all the water came from the farm dam, we did not do this.

It is like a revelation.

Not only does it help with taste, it is also the wonderful salty water that is reused and reused. (Tamar is not afraid of salt, such a refreshing change!)

So following her advice, I cooked pasta in the cauliflower water.

Are you looking for Pasta recipes? First, check out our home made eggless pasta. Then try Pasta with Tomato and Salted Ricotta, Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce, Elegant Orzo Pasta, and Spaghetti with Chilli and Olive Oil.

Feel free to browse our Cauliflower recipes here and here. Or you might like to browse Pasta recipes here and here. Check out our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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EARLY AUTUMN Goodies, Grains, Lentils, Preserves and More for Autumn Sustenance | Volume 2 | Seasonal Cooking

Autumn is such a joy. The cooling weather of Autumn arrives, yet food is bi-seasonal — we are not yet ready to let the last season go but are making tentative forays into the food of the coming season. We need dishes to remind us of summer, and others to warm our hearts.

Enjoy our Goodies, Grains and More Inspiration for Early Autumn. This is the second volume of two. You can find the first volume here.

You can also browse other Early Autumn recipes:

If you notice any links that have problems, please let us know – we’d love to fix them for you.

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