21 April 2012

Pasta alla Carrettiera


"Too much garlic?"

Four cloves of garlic for a serving of four?  I don't think I can handle that.  Neither can the author of the email I just received.  There was a link to a pasta recipe that I should check out and that question.  Ha!  I knew it!   My husband just found a pasta dish he would like to try.


This one is different from the rest because all the sauce ingredients are uncooked.  They are all fresh and are the ones that you normally have at home.  Tomatoes, parsley, chili, basil, garlic (loads of them!) and extra virgin olive oil.  And if you feel like it, add some grated pecorino (not parmigiano reggiano).  We all did, and the taste was spectacular!


My husband is in one of his drives to healthy eating.  Mediterranean is always welcome at home.  This recipe is exuding with healthiness and simplicity.  And I was very curious at how it would taste like.


Let me tell you what I have gathered about this pasta.  It is what the drivers of the colorful horse-drawn Sicilian carts were eating while traveling because it was easy to prepare and transport.  They have been in use in the island at the beginning of 1800s.  Nowadays, you almost don't find them anymore in the streets on normal days.  There are some who still keep them for festival or tourism use.  In fact, I only saw one once in Monreale back in 2000. 

Photo taken from Wikipedia
When I prepared this for the first time, I was surprised at how fast and easy it is to compose.  The important thing is to let it sit long, around 3 hours, so that the flavors can blend together.  In the recipe I used and some others I found, they say to refrigerate during the 3-hour sitting but then I found one recipe that says not to refrigerate so that the flavors can blend better at room temperature.  I thought not refrigerating makes more sense because, after all, back in the days, there were no refrigerators yet.   I wanted to have a more genuine feel.


When I served this the first time, I was quite sure that I would be hearing complaints from the kids.  Minced fresh green leaves are hard to pick out from the dish and the two have a selective "allergic" reaction to anything green because they look too healthy.   Kids and greens are like cats and dogs.  They never go well together. 


But, hold on!  Riccardo wolfed down his pasta and told me so many times that it was good.  I asked him if he was feeling well.  It couldn't be real.  Even Sofia ate her pasta.  What do you know.  I found a family pasta that has all the qualities every parent wants.  Easy, healthy & cheap.


Since the ingredients are minimal and the tomatoes are the protagonists in this plate, don't forget to use good quality tomatoes.  Get the ripe ones that are sweet.  I used good datterini tomatoes.  I almost exclusively use them especially in salads or bruschette because their intense flavor rarely disappoint me. 

Whereas for the garlic, well, it's up to you if you want to put one garlic per person.  I used only 1/2 for the four of us (in total, it's actually 3 adult servings) and the garlic was already enough.  The second time I prepared this, which was a couple of days after, I used 1 clove for 2 servings and my husband and I both thought it was too strong.

Give this pasta a try and I'm sure it will become a favorite at home, just like with us.

I take my pictures outside the kitchen, close to my two chive plants.  They're thriving with beautiful flowers that I thought of sharing what I see everytime I am there.  Have a good weekend!

Recipe adapted from Ricette Perfette (in Italian).



Pasta alla Carrettiera

Ingredients:
Serves 4
  • 400 g. long pasta like spaghetti, linguine, vermicelli
  • 4 cloves garlic (I used only 1/2.  It depends on how strong you like it.)
  • 500 g. ripe tomatoes (Choose the tasty ones.  I used good datterini tomatoes.)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • chili (I used only 1/2.  It depends on how hot you want it.)
  • bunch of fresh parsley
  • bunch of fresh basil
  • salt & pepper
  • grated pecorino (optional)
Directions:
  1. Cut tomatoes in half, squeezing out some of the liquid and seeds.  Chop finely.  
  2. Finely chop the parsley, basil, garlic & chili.  I put them all in the electric chopper.
  3. Put them in a bowl.  Add chopped tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper.  Mix well.  Leave at room temperature for at least 3 hours. (I let mine rest for an hour.)
  4. Meanwhile, boil water for the pasta.  When it boils, cook pasta according to the number of minutes suggested in the package.  Drain.
  5. Mix sauce with the cooked pasta.  Add oil if still needed.  
  6. Sprinkle with pecorino.  This is optional but all of us put some. 





26 comments:

  1. I love recipes like this - simple, and letting the ingredients speak for themselves. Once the fresh tomatoes start to get really good around here, I'll be giving this a try for sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you will love this, especially if you get to use the right tomatoes. It's very simple and good.

      Delete
  2. One of my favorite pasta dishes...this looks scrumptious! And gorgeous photos!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Rowena,

    I'm new to your blog, but I like everything I see here so far! :) I went to Italy 3 years ago and left a piece of my heart there...I'm hoping to move back long-term. This pasta dish is truly my idea of heaven on a plate - simplicity at its finest. Can't wait to read more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess this country is really hard to forget when you leave it. I hope you can come back someday. Nice to see you here Laura!

      Delete
  4. Beautiful photos of the chives! When you take photographs of spreads of food and ingredients all in focus what lens do you use? This looks delicious - will try it as usually tend always to do cooked pasta sauces.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi. I use a 50 mm. f 1.8 canon lens. Thanks!

      Delete
  5. Fabulous photos of a wonderfully easy and delicious pasta dish. This is my kind of meal, one can be fixed with minutes. I am glad to have met you and can't wait for more delicious posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suzanne! Thank you for dropping by!

      Delete
  6. Gorgeous photos and the pasta looks sensational with all the freshness and goodness you have put in. Fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Angie! It is a wonderful, simple and healthy pasta recipe.

      Delete
  7. Hi, Rowena!
    I love the vivid colours of this pasta! This is my kind of pasta topping - fresh tomatoes, parsley, evoo, but i like mine with lots of garlic! But perhaps I'll need to roast or saute my garlic for a milder flavour! Love it! And I'm so jealous that you live in Rome! I love all things Italy that my husband and I named our first daughter GIADA...a very Italian name! Anyway, I am adding you to my blog roll NOW! I like your site...!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jen! Nice to see you here. This pasta is really fresh and wonderful! Unfortunately, too much garlic doesn't go well with my tummy. I used to love and eat a lot of garlic when I was young. I think roasting or sauteing the garlic is a good idea. I love all things Italian too and I am lucky to have made this place my home. Thanks!

      Delete
  8. Gorgeous pasta! One dish that I can't resist is pasta:)) Love your site too..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sandra! Happy you dropped in.

      Delete
  9. This is so good to see...the photograph is making me hungry, dear! I loved the recipe and I am going to take a printout of the same right now!
    http://cosmopolitancurrymania.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Purabi. I'm glad you loved it.

      Delete
  10. So glad to have found your blog, Rowena! There is nothing better than the freshness of this dish - I love your vibrant photographs. But I am absolutely chuckling at the selective allergies ... I have some of that going on here, too. Glad they loved the dish, I know I would as well :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The thing with kids is to find ways to make them eat the healthy greens. It's always a struggle, isn't it? This dish plain and simply wonderful. I do hope you'll like it. Thanks Liren!

      Delete
  11. What a gorgeous pasta! It is always a thrill when you can get something that the whole family will enjoy, I know how hard that can be sometimes!
    Glad to have found your blog, and to learn more about you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is hard to find something that the kids would eat unless they are disguised as candies or potato chips. Haha! Thank you for dropping by Erin!

      Delete
  12. SIMPLE, FRESH & DELICIOUS. just cooked it today! Thank you for the recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh how nice! I'm glad you liked it and thank you for telling me!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I would love to know what you think!