Quick Penne- Modica Style
So, Dear Readers- I am back from sunny Sicily... and what an amazing trip it was too! This was the first time I have travelled the island more extensively and I have enjoyed every step of it- even the steep, uphill steps in the beautiful town of Modica!
Hillside towns can be pretty in the extreme... they can also be pretty extreme in the hilliness! Good heavens above! How this beautiful little town with its 2 breathtaking Cathederals and numerous small churches was constructed is beyond me- I am just glad that it was built and that I had the good fortune, despite aching ankles, knees and tendons, to enjoy it for the last 6 days of my stay!
And what I especially enjoyed was the antique/flea market on Sunday... where I bought this pretty dish :-) I also bought a small can of "Simmenthal" meat, which I suppose is nothing more than the Italian equivalent of corned beef. This is a household staple that is well-loved in Italy- usually crumbled up and dressed with a little parsley and lemon juice- and rather tasty surprisingly enough! I had been planning on introducing my friend Stephen to it- but that never did happen. So I just brought that tiny can, about 2 teaspoonfuls at most, back home with me... and turned it into my supper! And a tasty and speedy supper it was too!
In the meantime, I boiled up the penne until they were just "al dente", then drained them briefly and added them to the frying pan. I cut a handful of cherry tomatoes into quarters and added them, along with a few capers and a good sprinkle of black pepper and then stirred everything well and let the last bit of water evaporate away as well as cook into the pasta briefly. This gives the tomato juices a chance to spread evenly over all of the pasta and for the pasta to finish cooking until it is just right.
There should be enough fat in the gelatin of the Simmenthal meat to "dress" the pasta for you, but you can always add a little fresh olive oil just before serving if you so wish. I added a good sprinkle of salted ricotta cheese and some basil leaves which I snipped in at the last minute with a pair of scissors- an couple of leaves as a garnish and supper is served!
There is nothing about this dish that has anything traditionally to do with Modica... other than the plate and location of my purchase of the canned meat. But that isn't going to keep me from turning this dish into a thing of legend! Because for me it already is- magical, easy and delicious! And what more could you want?!?