Monday, October 24

Kitchen Pen Pals: Tomato, chilli, caper and olive sauce pasta

I'm sorry I've taken this long to get this post up. A slew of late nights, my belongings being in boxes and the disappearance of my camera charger meant I just wasn't able to get this puppy up until now. But enough excuses! There is so much I wanna say about cooking but I'll save it for a non-recipe post. Long story short - I am loving it! And I am so grateful that Sian has helped me to repackage my thoughts on the matter.

The last dish I made was a creamy asparagus pasta and it was delish! Sian thought it would be a good idea for me to learn a basic tomato pasta aswell so that I can have both a creamy and tomatoey base up my sleeve. Good thinking Miss Sian.

Below is the recipe and as usual, my rambling side notes accompany it. I realise these posts are always marathons to read so here are my thoughts in a nutshell: this dish is WONDERFUL! It's fresh and wholesome, light and clean....if that makes any sense?! It's also colourful and nutritious and perfect for our approaching South African summer. Oh, and it's a treat to prepare as it's so aromatic. Ah, I can't believe how much I'm getting into cooking! So pleased I'll be able to cook some proper, edible meals before I turn 30!

What you need
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 small onion - finely chopped
1 fresh chilli - chopped (optional)
I used a chili that was rated 9 out of 10 for hotness! Despite it's raunchy rating, it gave the dish a subtle kick which I really enjoyed. Haha, 'really enjoyed.' I sound hilarious.
1 tbs capers - chopped (optional)
Ok, for some reason I always thought capers were little fish! I think I once asked what they were and some wise-guy thought it be would be hilarious to tell the cooking noob they were little fish. And I fell hook, line and sinker! Oh dear, this is terrible writing. Anyway, turns out they are baby plant buds or something and they are delish! They look a dreadful sight but they don't stick out visibly in the sauce. I had no idea where to find them in the grocery store but Sian told me they would be near the olives - and that they were!
1/2 cup calamata olives
Right, so, a bit of trouble here. Was confronted with five hundred olive types on the shelf but eventually spotted a pack that said, 'Calamata Olives.' They were purple, not sure if you get green Calamatas? Luckily I attempted to snack on one while cooking and discovered they had pips in 'em. Wasn't sure how to de-pip them so just sort of ripped 'em out. You're charmed, I'm sure!
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 sprigs rosemary
handful of fresh basil leaves
Was ridiculously hard to find a Durban grocery store that had basil and rosemary. And yes, I tried Woolies! I was running around Pick 'n Pay ten minutes before they were closed, huffing, 'Where the eff, is the effing basil!?' Ala Bridget Jones looking for tuna in her fridge! The grocer guy was tossing me lemons and onions as I raced through the recipe out-loud! 

cook 250g pasta according to packet instructions
heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion
It's official, nothing smells and sounds as promising and exciting as onions sizzling in a pan. Gone are my days of teary onion-chopping thanks to Sian!
cook until soft and golden
add the tomatoes, chilli, sugar and lemon zest and rosemary sprigs and
simmer for 15 minutes
I said it before and I'll say it again. I now TOTALLY get why TV chefs bounce around their kitchens as if they've just won the Lotto. Sugar caramelizing in a pan of bubbling tomato is like...I dunno, art in a pan! It's awesome! Also, lemon zest - grating that stuff was a happy little exercise! The zingy scent is heaven. I found myself cooing to the dogs, 'Ah, look at this glorious citrus mist raining down into the pan.' If we were in some talking-dog Disney skit, I'm sure they would have replied, 'Easy there Nigella.'
add capers and olives and allow to simmer for 2 minutes
season with salt and black pepper (if using capers, be cautious with
the salt as you could over season)
remove rosemary sprigs and add chopped fresh basil
toss with pasta and garnish with herbs
Easy, easy, easy! And so delicious! I can't wait to cook the next recipe - a crust-less, savoury tart - sounds scrumptious! Don't forget to check out my Kitchen Pen Pal's blog to see her version of this recipe. Sian is the master behind the meals! x


Other yummy things we've made: 1. Flatbread with hummus 2. Creamy asparagus pasta
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