Pappardelle with Zucchini, Sultanas and Pine Nuts
This pasta dish, from Nigella's Forever Summer, is one of my staple dinners. It's exceedingly simple, if a little time consuming, as it takes 45 minutes for the zucchini to cook down to the requisite mushiness. You don't need to stand there stirring it the whole time, but I don't like to leave a pot on the stove unsupervised, so I'd stay in the kitchen, checking my email or cleaning up or whatever.
Just slowly cook some sliced zucchini and garlic in a bit of oil, until soft and mushy, then add marsala-soaked sultanas and toasted pine nuts. Toss the whole lot through cooked pappardelle with some parmesan and parsley. Ta-dah! I used Passion Pasta's wholemeal spelt pappardelle, which was toothsome and satisfying, but not heavy. Nigella was right - 250g of pappardelle does seem like a small amount, but it was enough for a light meal for 4 people.
Spaghetti with Bacon, Garlic and Parsley
spaghetti aglio olio, another favourite of mine, and I pretty much always have the ingredients for it on hand. I keep bacon in the freezer, a parsley plant in the garden, parmesan cheese in the fridge, and pasta in the pantry. Making this pasta is simply a matter of frying bacon pieces and garlic in olive oil, then tossing through the cooked spaghetti, parmesan cheese and parsley. I see in this photo I used a mixture of regular spaghetti and the remnants of a packet of spelt spaghetti, but whatever spaghetti you prefer would do the job.
Mini-Penne Rigate mit Sahne, Erbsen und Schinken
I love these little mini-penne rigate! How cute are they? I must admit I was drawn to the German writing on the back of the packet. It came with a recipe (in German) for mini-penne rigate with parmigiano reggiano sauce and ham. As far as my abysmal command of the German language would allow me, I figured out that the sauce is made from cooking milk with cheese, which you then add to the cooked pasta, with some chopped herbs and cooked peas. I tried it a few weeks ago, but wasn't too impressed. Some weeks later, however, I found success with a similar recipe in Nigella's Feast. Nigella's pasta is a lot more simple; her "pasta with ham, peas and cream" is just that. Cooked and ready to go in less than 10 minutes, and wonderfully tasty.
As a bonus, making this recipe enabled me to use up a half-finished tub of cream I had in the fridge, which surely would have died a mouldy death, had this recipe not saved it.