Nothing beats a bowl of hot pasta covered in a spicy or creamy sauce to quell the blues on a rainy day. You can bake it into a luscious casserole, toss it with your favourite vegetable or meat sauce, include it in a salad and even use up last night’s leftovers in a frittata the next morning! It’s loved by kids and grown-ups alike and welcomed at any mealtime.
You can buy good quality dried pasta in your local supermarket or prepare it from scratch if you’re a bit of a purist. Make sure you’re buying pasta made from 100 per cent durum wheat semolina, this gives you the best pasta. Buon appetite!
3 tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 28-oz tin tomatoes
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 400 gm package of dried penne pasta
1/2 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup pitted black olives, not tinned, cut into quarters
Heat oil in a large sauté pan add garlic, onion and hot pepper, sauté until fragrant and onion is tender.
Puree tomatoes or break into small pieces with a fork. Add to onions in pot.
Add salt and black pepper, add half the fresh basil, simmer until sauce has become medium thick.
Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt and penne, boil until tender and firm about 10 to 12 minutes or according to manufacturer’s directions.
Meanwhile place half the tomato sauce into bowl, add drained pasta and toss, add the rest of the sauce and toss well.
Add basil, parsley and cheese and toss.
Sprinkle olives on top, adjust seasonings.
Serves 6 to 8
1 lb penne pasta
1 medium-sized eggplant
1 tsp salt
¼ cup olive oil (more if needed)
1 tbs chopped garlic
½ tsp pepper flakes
1 14-oz tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
sea salt to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, basil or tarragon
Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
Boil pasta in plenty of salted water according to package directions. Slice eggplant into ½-inch thick slices and sprinkle salt over slices, leave for 15 minutes, rinse and pat dry.
Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan, add garlic and pepper flakes, when garlic begins to turn golden add the tomatoes with the juice or sauce. Stir, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Now heat the balance of the olive oil in a frying pan, fry eggplant slices until golden brown in colour on both sides. Repeat until all the eggplant has been fried, do not drain on paper towels, simply remove to a plate.
Slice the eggplant into strips, add to warmed tomato sauce. Toss pasta with eggplant and tomato. Add fresh herbs and toss.
Serve with grated parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. Serves 4
Tuna and Pasta Salad with Fresh Herbs
200 grams macaroni shells, boiled and drained according to package directions
2 tins chunk light tuna, drained
1 tsp minced garlic
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 medium-sized red tomatoes, cut into small wedges
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, chives, parsley, basil, and dill
1/4 cup salad, or any flavoured vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and black pepper to taste
Combine all salad ingredients except fresh herbs. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and blend well.
Pour dressing onto salad ingredients and toss well. Add fresh herbs and serve.
If not serving right away, do not add herbs, cover and refrigerate. Add herbs before serving. Serves 6 to 8
12 sheets ready to bake lasagna sheets
1 14-oz tin whole tomatoes with juice, chopped
2 tbs chopped garlic
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
2 cups milk
2 tbs olive oil
2 lbs shrimp cleaned
1 lb crabmeat
1/2 cup parsley and basil chopped
Preheat oven to 350 F
Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan, add flour and cook until mixture is slack.
Add milk and one tbs garlic, season with salt to taste, cook stirring until smooth and thick, add tomatoes simmer until thick and adjust seasoning.
Meanwhile, heat sauté pan, add olive oil, remaining garlic and onion, cook for 4 minutes, add shrimp and crab, add herbs cook for about 5 minutes until shrimp is pink and curled.
Lightly grease a medium casserole dish, place about 4 tbs sauce at the base, place 3 lasagna strips to cover dish surface, spoon some shrimp on top, spoon sauce, add cheese, repeat until all sauce and seafood is used, about 3 layers. End with remaining seafood, sauce and cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes until cooked.
There must be enough liquid to cover the lasagna to enable it to cook.