Category Archives: Pasta

Picnic Pasta Salad and a Special #PastaFriday Event

Picnic Pasta (8117)So last Friday I announced that I’ll be posting a pasta recipe every week. Today I’ve decided to make it an event. Why not?! So if you are a food blogger and you love pasta, this can be the space for you. To participate in this weekly event, on a Friday or during the weekend, I invite you to write a post on your blog accompanied of course by a pasta recipe. What you need to do next is very simple:

  1. Include a link to your post in a comment on my post for that week.
  2. Include a link to my post in your own blog post. Don’t reblog the post. A simple link will do.
  3. If you use Twitter promote your post with #PastaFriday so everyone will be able to see it.

Easy. This event will run up to October 2nd, at least for the time being.

Now onto this recipe which I have promised you ages ago but never got round to it. It’s an off-the-cuff one simply because everyone does pasta salad differently. Everyone comes up with many variants most of the time. I have to be honest here: there has been a time (I suspect that it’s not over) that this became one of my regular go-to suppers as it’s easy to prepare and good for transport. Also it’s a good one for making use of things I just want to use up. I open the fridge and voila you have a meal. I have made it during these hot months for friends coming at the house at the last minute, especially during those intermittent weeks where I skipped my otherwise regular grocery shop.

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Fusilli with a Simple Tomato Sauce

Pasta with a Red Sauce (8056)

I spent the last thirty minutes or so reorganising my photos into ingredient folders, if that makes sense. I just have too many, but it’s been a very interesting exercise, because now I’m aware of some old dishes I’ve been wanting to publish for ages. So for now, every Friday is Pasta Day. Lately my least busy day, at least for the summer, has been Friday. Having said that, today has been quite a hectic one and all I want to do right now is eat, watch a movie and sleep. I have sadly finished all episodes of Castle. Sad days indeed. I had a very light lunch today so now I’m feeling ravenous. I don’t like heavy meals in the evenings though. I’m a light sleeper by nature, on the verge of being an insomniac, so anything heavy will make me sick. However I find that one of the gentlest things to eat at night is pasta. I know, I know, it may seem weird to you and it was to me too, the first time I read that. I mean, how was that even possible? I read an article a few years ago written by a chef. He said that he eats a small portion of pasta after a late night at the restaurant because apparently carbohydrates are one category of foods that are easiest to digest. I can’t remember where I read this but all I can say is that, for me, this works. I cut down quite a lot on pasta and bread these past few months, but once a week it’s pasta day in my house and that, my friends, makes me more than happy.

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Fusilli with Mandarins and Basil

Mandarin and Yoghurt Fusilli (9088)

Before coming across this recipe in Jack Monroe‘s book, I would never have thought of pairing pasta with mandarins. (There’s no need to tell you again how much I like Jack’s book. You can read all about it in a previous post.) I was almost about to say that I never had anything sweet with pasta. Then I remembered I actually did! I’m getting older…

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Creamy Pasta with Sage and Peas

Creamy Pasta with Peas (9021)

I have a question for you. Are there days when you are constantly on the move or in some kind of a rush? Every single day I hear you shout! I lead a small life and generally I have a very fixed timetable. Usually. There are times though when everything I’ve learnt about time management just goes out of whack. Whatever I planned for the day just gets thrown out of the window and I just…just…squeeze in the basic things on my to-do list. Do you have one of those? I do. Crossing out all the tasks rarely happens, no news there I guess, though I relish that yes-I-have-achieved-so-much-today feeling. Don’t you love that?

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In time for Valentine’s Day: Chocolate Pasta with Pecans and Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Pasta (8841)

You might have noticed by now that I don’t really give much attention to any particular feast days or special occasions, except for Christmas on this blog. I have been asked so many times about it over the past few months but I have never given an answer. Perhaps it’s because I really don’t have one. What I know is that I am not into trends, but this week I will give in. I won’t bore you with the notion that love should be celebrated every day of the year. Let’s leave it at that! I made this recipe some weeks ago and I loved it, and I thought it would be a great Valentine’s Day post. It’s got chocolate and cream, and the pecans come as a bonus. I still find my liking this kind of dish a bit of a shock, especially because the nature of Nigella’s latest book somewhat perplexes me. I thought I would warm up to it, but I really didn’t like it as much as her other titles. However I found myself wanting to make this. You wouldn’t feed this to an Italian, but I’m not an Italian anyway. Chocolate pasta, which in my case are penne, just because those were the only kind I found in the shops, are a bit hard to come by. Luckily for me I managed to find them at one of my local stores, although online was the way to go on this one.

Chocolate Pasta (8781)

Chocolate Pasta (8827)

But beware – this is rich. I would say that with these quantities, which I changed a little, will give you 2 substantial portions. You will need a glass or two of water to drink, apart from a little bubbly if you want to. At first it will not taste that sweet, but you’ll see as you go along that the sweetness will catch up with you. It’s all good mind you, as long as you don’t eat this everyday! And I know you will not! And you won’t need any dessert – this is an all-in-one meal and takes minutes to prepare.

  • 250g cocoa pasta
  • pinch salt, for the pasta water
  • 60g unsalted pecans, roughly chopped
  • 60g unsalted butter, softened
  • 60g soft light brown sugar
  • 100ml double cream, plus around 3 tablespoons for serving

Chocolate Pasta (8828)

Chocolate Pasta (8829)

Boil the water for the pasta, add some salt to the water and cook according to packet instructions, preferably al dente.

In a pan (non-stick will make your life easier but stainless will work fine, at least it did for me), toast the pecans. When they’re ready, put them in a small container and set aside.

Chocolate Pasta (8832)

Chocolate Pasta (8834)

Chocolate Pasta (8835)

In the same pan, over medium heat add the softened butter and brown sugar, and gently stir. Let everything bubble up and when it turns into a lovely toffee colour, stir in the cream. Add the toasted pecans and take it off the heat.

Chocolate Pasta (8837)

Chocolate Pasta (8839)

Reserve some of the water from the pasta, and drain. Add the cocoa pasta to the caramel and pecan sauce and mix well. If needed, add one to two tablespoons of the reserved water, and give the pasta another stir until every bit of it is coated with the sauce.

Serve immediately with a little cream on top.

Chocolate Pasta (8844)

Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from Nigellissima, Chatto & Windus, 2012.)

This is *not* a sponsored post.