Ingredients: 200 gr / 250 gr sedanini rigati (or penne), 1 shallot, a bunch of cherry tomatoes, 2 tsp concentrated tomato paste, 1 Bird’s Eye chilli pepper, a bunch of chives, olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
Herbs: 1 tbsp thyme, 1 tbsp basil, 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp marjoram
Flavours: aromatic Italian herbs with a spicy kick as aftertaste
Last Saturday I was at home, trying to organize my day among the plenty of things that I had to do, a.k.a. stuff that you ‘refuse’ to do during the week, because we are all too busy, too tired, too everything. My to-do list included a full morning at the Borough market, because believe it or not I still haven’t been there, despite living in London for two years! Of course when I realized on Saturday morning that by the time I woke up, had breakfast and a shower it was already 11am, my plan to be surrounded by mountains of amazing greenery and fruitiness sweetness fell to pieces and I found myself with almost no food and with a big question: what am I going to cook for lunch?
If you have any Italian friends, you will probably know that in every respectable Italian kitchen we will always – and when I say always, I really mean it – have two things: pasta and tomatoes (oh and coffee of course, but that’s another story and you can read about it here.) Italians love their pasta and love their kitchen cupboard to be stock properly with several types of pasta. The ones I had at home were the sedanini rigati – sorry no English translation available, I’m afraid.
Sedanini are part of the ‘short cut’ pasta and thanks to their texture with ridges running through them they can easily hold the most intense sauce, by intensifying even the most hidden flavours. Made with Italian durum wheat, they will go perfect with any kind of tomato based sauce.
This dish is extremely easy, but very filling at the same time and it’s all about flavours: oregano, thyme, basil and marjoram are a perfect combination in such way that none of them prevails on the other, so once everything is mixed together with the tomato sauce, you’d still be able to taste every single herb. And of course, since I like to add a little bit of a spicy kick in my sauce, I had to add the chilli pepper, but if you prefer a milder taste, you can leave it out.
the 5 senses method:
- In a small pot mix all the 4 herbs along with 1 tbsp of olive oil and set it aside.
- Wash the vegetables. Chop the shallot, the Bird’s Eye chilli pepper, the chives and cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters.
- Bring a medium pot to the boil, add a little bit of sea salt and cook the pasta of your choice as per instructions on the package.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan, then add the shallot and fry until soft. Add the chilli and after a minute add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they resemble a sauce consistency. Add the pot with the 4 herbs and give it a final stir.
- Once the pasta is cooked and drained, pour it into the sauce pan. Give it a stir until all the pasta is coated in the sauce. Add fresh chives just before serving and sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional).