Friday, 27 November 2015

Simplicity from Sicily

Pasta cu Capucciu & Capulliatu
Pasta with White Cabbage & Ground Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Pasta, pasta, pasta... there is no limit to how many way it can be prepared and it will never let you down when you are stuck for something to eat. Seriously... and that means, like, never ever at all! So do something a little different every now and again!

One of the most important things about pasta dishes, that sadly too many people seem unable to understand is that you don't have to have a sauce to make a wonderful pasta dish and more often than not, just a couple of flavorful ingredients will be all you need to turn your plain old noodles into something delicious and fun!

Not surprisingly, this dish was put together using just a couple of leftover vegetables... but the result was still delicious indeed! It just takes a bit of ingenuity and common sense to work out a good combination of your ingredients... keep things simple and you will be fine!

The ingredients I used here were some sweet, white cabbage and some ground-up, savory sun-dried tomatoes... contrasting flavors which when combined compliment each other wonderfully.

pep-up 2 portions of linguini. On the bottom left in the photo, you are looking at 1/2 of an onion- that should help you get things into perspective!. Other than this, I needed 2 handfuls of finely chopped/shredded white cabbage, 1 tablespoon of ground, Sicilian sun-dried tomatoes (or finely chopped regular ones), a little parsley, some salted ricotta for grating and otherwise simply salt, pepper, a little nutmeg and a drizzle or two of olive oil.

Just take a peek at how luscious and delicious that looks! Slightly tangy, sweet and savory, healthy and delicious and different... and fun! Dare to be different... life is too short to not at least be adventurous with your pasta!

Preparation couldn't be easier- finely dice 1/2 an onion and fry in a little olive oil with the finely chopped stalks of the parsley and whilst it is sizzling away, slice up 2 good handfuls of white cabbage. It doesn't take much! Remember how small the cabbage was in the previous photo? Around the size of an apple? Well, I only needed half that amount, which is another reason that my super-thrifty self liked this so much!

Stir-fry the cabbage with the onion for 2-3 minutes, adjust a little salt, about 1/2 a teaspoon and a pinch of sugar, one little splash of water and pop on the lid for 2-3 minutes, so that the cabbage steams and wilts down a little. Next, add the ground or chopped sun-dried tomatoes and stir them in well.

These ground, sun-dried tomatoes, called "capulliato" in Sicilian dialect, are a staple seasoning for any number of simple dishes. The word itself, simply means "mashed together"- and it's really old-school- just like me!

The consistency, once they have been ground, is a little different and something we Sicilians love- but sure, as I already mentioned, you can simply chop up a couple of regular ones and they will work just fine too.

Start boiling your pasta and keep the cabbage stir-frying whilst it cooks for around 5 minutes, then transfer the almost cooked pasta to your frying pan with a good splash of the salted water that it cooked in.

Continue cooking the pasta and the cabbage together, stirring all the time and adding a little more water as required as the pasta absorbs what's in the pan... and of course all of the flavor that comes with it! Just look at that lovely color, coming from the dried tomatoes- heavenly!

lovely, shiny coating of cabbage, onion and tomato, add a little olive oil, a touch of nutmeg, and serve up with a generous sprinkle of finely chopped parsley. Finish with a little grated salted-ricotta if you are Sicilian like me, Parmesan if your not (hehe!) and some freshly ground pepper.

And yes- it is absolutely delicious once it is all stirred-up together! Enjoy it whilst it's hot!

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