I have long been a fan of Italian cuisine & culture. I couldn't get enough of their passionate extroverted approach to life. Their food is this exquisite expression of the gifts of nature. Passionately encouraged to stand up and be appreciated. When I was a young chef just out of my apprenticeship, I went to London to work. I landed a job in Giorgio Locatelli's michelin star establishment called Zafferano. The man was like a God to me! He was passionate, funny, wild & a brilliant chef who is clearly in love with the food of his culture. I learned so much that I still remember, use and refer back to, to this day. This recipe is inspired by the simplicity, joy & love of great food I experienced in that kitchen. (although, I am quite sure that Giorgio would DIE before using a spelt pasta?!)
Tomato & Basil Spelt Fusilli
(serves 2 and maybe enough for 1 re-run)
1 brown onion sliced thinly
3 cups of tomatoes (cherries, heirlooms, kumatoes, whatever you love)
3 cloves of garlic chopped (1 tbsp minced from the jar)
1 red birds-eye chilli (optional, I like it hot!)
1 handful of chopped herbs (parsley works sooooo well here. Basil & oregano are amazing as well!)
2 cups of pasta, whatever your favourite is. I'm very into fusilli right now, the grooves catch all the sauce and it is very easy to eat.
So, the cool thing about this recipe is that the whole thing is ready by the time the pasta pot boils and the pasta is cooked. So, firstly, put a big pot of water on to boil and salt it well. You want a rolling boil and the taste of the sea.
Slice the onions, chop the garlic and the chilli. Put a generous amount of olive oil in a pan and bring to medium heat, put the onions garlic and chilli in and let them kind of melt into the oil. You don't want a searing heat here. Gently let them melt, it will take about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes whole and toss them around a bit. Let them sit over a medium heat for another 5-10 minutes.
The water should be boiling by now. Drop in your pasta and cook for exactly as long as the directions say to.
The tomatoes should be all melty and saucey by now, if it is bit dry add a ladle full of the pasta water. you can help it all along by squishing the tomatoes with a fork or potato masher. Season really well and drop in your herbs.
Strain the pasta and toss it all together. Put more herbs on top and sprinkly generously with vegan parmesan. The recipe is on the blog. this is so simple, but if you nexecute it well, it is powerpacked with flavour and will make you sing Mambo Italiano !! Belissima xx