Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube presents
The Pasta Book
Pasta is an essential part of the Italian diet and most traditional families serve it at least once a day.
From its humble origins of mammas and nonnas at home mixing flour and water, it’s become a worldwide industry with over 600 shapes to choose from.
The beauty of pasta is that it’s quick, simple and versatile – from easy tomato sauces to toss through spaghetti, to slow-cooked ragus and warming baked dishes.
‘You can make pasta as rich or as light as you like, depending on season and your budget’
I hope you love these fantastic recipes, which I have split into seasons, dedicated to Italy’s favourite food and, of course, mine too.
Penne con melanzane e peperoncini
Pepper & Aubergine Penne
We would often have a dish such as this one during the summer when peppers and aubergines were in abundance and sweet-smelling basil was at its best. It used to take a while to prepare as the aubergines were sliced and left in salt for a couple of hours for all the excess moisture to escape.
Nowadays, we can not only omit this stage, but enjoy both vegetables all year round, although I must admit there is nothing nicer than seasonal locally grown produce. When I’m in Italy during the summer, this is one of the dishes I enjoy.
The capers add fantastic flavour to this typically southern Italian pasta dish – they smell just like the sea. I love them!
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add aubergine cubes and stir fry for about 8 minutes until soft. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
- Return the frying pan to a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of oil, add peppers, chilli and garlic and sweat for 3 minutes. Add olives, capers, a splash of water and continue to cook for a further 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water until “al dente.”
- Add cherry tomatoes and most of the basil leaves to the sauce, cover and cook for a couple of minutes until the tomatoes have softened.
- Add the aubergines, season with salt & pepper, reduce to a lovely sauce, adding a splash of the pasta water to loosen if necessary.
- Reserving some of the cooking water, drain the penne and add to the sauce. Toss well over the heat until lovely and glossy, adding a splash of the cooking water to loosen if necessary.
- Serve immediately with a sprinkling of grated parmesan and scatter with the remaining basil leaves.
4 x tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 x small aubergine, trimmed and chopped into 1 cm cubes
½ red pepper & 1/2 yellow pepper, both deseeded and sliced lengthways into strips
½ red chilli, finely chopped
4 x cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
6 x black olives
4 x tablespoon baby capers
200 gr penne
salt & pepper
8 x ripe cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
½ bunch fresh basil leaves
grated parmesan cheese, for serving