Olive, sweetcorn and parmesan pasta

October 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

I do apologise for the long delay between this post and my last – it’s been very hectic around here! Following my last recipe, Diwali celebrations were in full swing and the parents were preparing to depart to India the following weekend, so cooking up dishes has been a little bit difficult. I only have a tidbit for now, as I’m planning something deliciously wicked with chilli-flavoured chocolate, which will be making its way to you soon. I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful scent of lilies that filled our kitchen when making this dish – a relative brought over a bouquet to our dinner party and now all the lilies are in full bloom. They smell wonderful.

Lilies

Quick pasta dishes are a godsend. When your stomach is growling and having a general tantrum, what better than a quick carbohydrate boost to keep it happy and smiling for a few hours? They’re great for lunch, a quick snack, even a family dinner if you’ve got young ‘uns who aren’t the most patient angels. Plus, you can pack them full of vegetables to fulfil some of your 5-a-day requirements, or meat for something more wholesome.

Storecupboard ingredients can go quite a long way for a quick pasta, if you don’t have the time to gather up a plethora of fresh ingredients. Cans of sweetcorn or jars of olives can last a long, long time and there’s always bound to be some lurking around at the back of the cupboard on a rainy day.

Olives and sweetcorn

However, most pasta dishes benefit from having a little touch of authenticity, such as parmesan, or mozzarella cheese, as these ingredients bring together the tastes in the dish. Parmesan (actually called Parmigiano Reggiano)  is an Italian hard cheese that can be aged from a minium of 12-14 months, up until 2 years. When I visited the Taste Festival in Regents Park this summer, one stall had three types of parmesan that had been aged for different periods and the longer it is aged for, the more complex the taste… truly lovely – especially with port!

Parmesan

So, onto the pasta. You’ll need:

  • About 100-150g of pasta per person, penne is usually the best to go for
  • 6-10 olives,evenly sliced
  • 1 can sweetcorn
  • A jar of basic tomato sauce (or you can make your own with 400g chopped tomatoes, 1tbsp tomato puree, drizzle of olive oil, pinch of salt and sugar, and herbs to taste)
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 20g grated parmesan

Pasta

Put your pasta in a pan of salted boiling water to cook while you make the sauce. Drain the pasta after 12-15 minutes, depending on whether you want the pasta al dente or softer. In a separate saucepan, heat 1tbsp of olive oil and add the chopped onion and garlic. Fry for about 5 minutes or until the onion has become translucent. Then add the tomato sauce, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the sweetcorn and rinse with a little cold water. Add the sliced olives and sweetcorn to the sauce and stir thoroughly. Then stir in half the grated parmesan into the sauce, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Once you have drained the pasta, add it to the sauce and combine the two. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the top. There you have it – a meal that takes a maximum of 20 minutes to prepare and will be on the table before you know it.

Olive, sweetcorn and parmesan pasta

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