Sunday, 9 September 2012

Pasta e Basta!

Penne, Fagioli, Pomodori Secche & Ricotta Salata
Penne with String Beans, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Salted Ricotta

How about something simple for suppertime? Simple, delicious, quick, inexpensive, healthy and made in one saucepan? Exactly! Done deal- here you are folks- I just saved you a lot of time, a lot of work and a hunk of money! Feel free to thank me now or at a later date if you are already rushing to your kitchens to make this!

This dish is improvised and abbreviated, but still captures all of the flavors you might go to a lot more trouble to create otherwise. But basically it was a little common sense, a little laziness and a touch or recklessness that let me think I could do it. And wouldn't you know?- The result was pretty amazing!

Here we go- a 15 minute meal for you- including the time it takes to bring your water to the boil!

Whilst the water is boiling, top and tail the beans and yes, pull the strings if there are any! Fortunately, the beans we get nowerdays are much more tender and have had those stringy edges cultivated out according to an expert friend of mine. Well- I believe him! Because I didn't have to pluck one single string!

As soon as the water began to boil, I added the pasta, which was in this case whole meal penne, the beans and of course a good pinch of salt. I added a teaspoon of cumin seeds and a bay leaf to the water and turned my attention to the sun-dried tomatoes and the ricotta whilst the pasta and beans boiled...

I cut the tomatoes into fine strips, chopped a little onion and grated some ricotta ready for later. I also crushed and chopped as finely as possible a clove of garlic. After about 5 minutes of cooking time, I added the tomatoes, onion and garlic to the pasta, so that they would also cook a little for the last 2-3 minutes until everything was ready.

In the meantime, I finely chopped a little parsley, ready to so add as soon as the pasta was drained- which was the next thing that I did! Whilst it was still piping hot, I added a little olive oil, the parsley and half of the ricotta. I grated it with a little nutmeg and stirred it all together well, then dished it up with no further ado! A last little drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of coarsely ground black pepper and the last of the ricotta and supper was ready! And it was just perfect!