Sarjano introduces us to the easy-to-prepare pasta dish Strascicata
There is another plot you should get familiar with before you can claim your stars as an Italian cook. This is known as ‘Pasta Strascicata’.
For that you can leave your spaghetti on the shelf and go for any funny shape of pasta you want to try. But penne rigate is the best. If you can find conchiglie, as they call pasta in the shape of large shells, it’s even better, because the shells are perfect containers for this kind of green topping.
You must remember the infamous midnight spaghetti, the quick aglio olio and peperoncino meant to revive a late party.
Well, starting from that: good olive oil, a lot of garlic, and as much red chilli as you can tolerate, add 500 grams of your favourite vegetable such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, even my favourite in India, the green leaves of white radish. When we talk of vegetables or leaves that do not cook in five minutes, like broccoli, you have to parboil them before you sauté them with the garlic.
In Italy we do it like this:
We chop the vegetables we have chosen and boil it in a lot of water for 5-10 minutes. Then we strain the vegetables and keep the water for boiling the fusilli, conchiglie or whichever pasta we like. Meanwhile the vegetables are added to the pan where the garlic has already been sautéed golden in the olive oil. We sauté the vegetable gently for 10-15 minutes, more or less the time your pasta needs to boil. Then we strain the pasta and slip it into the pan with the vegetables. We stir gently for a few minutes after switching off the flame, adding a little olive oil if it doesn’t look oily enough or a little dry, and that’s it.
No cheese required.
So this is another plot pattern, from which you can evolve your own versions of pasta strascicata with veggies.
If you like some black olives (Italian or Greek; it doesn’t matter), chop them and add them to your pan. Mix and serve.
In the south of Italy they roast a large handful of breadcrumbs with a few drops of olive oil, and when golden, it is sprinkled on the pasta and vegetables as if it were Parmesan!
So now do you have enough understanding and information about Italian pasta and Italian sauces?
From the book Food is Home by Sarjano