RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Franco Taruschio

Penne with courgettes and balsamic vinegar (adult recipe)

As promised, this is the original cold pasta recipe I adapted for my toddler-friendly herby courgette pasta salad. I don’t want to be repetitive, but it really is a great summer meal, and I love how it can be made the day before. It’s great in lunch boxes, on picnics or as an easy weekend meal. I’ve made it countless times and will make it many more times!

I’ve made very few changes to the original recipe by Ann and Franco Taruschio. I increased the eggs (each person only gets 3 small wedges in the original) and eliminated putting ice in the pasta immediately after you drain it to stop it from cooking (I don’t think you need to do it).

If you make it ahead of time, take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to eat it so it can start to come to room temperature and taste better.

PENNE WITH COURGETTES AND BALSAMIC VINEGAR

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Serves 4
Keeps in the fridge for a day

300g courgettes, cut in half lengthways, sliced fairly thickly
4 tbsp olive oil
1-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh basil, shredded
2 fresh mint sprigs, chopped, plus few leaves to garnish
3 eggs
250g penne
100g feta cheese, diced

Cook penne and drain it well (you can spread it out on tea towel to dry it if you want). Put pasta in a large bowl and dress with the remaining olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar.

Lower eggs into boiling water and cook for 10 minutes when water returns to the boil. Plunge into cold water and peel before cutting each into 6 wedges.

While pasta and eggs are cooking, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add courgettes. Season and stir fry for a few minutes. Remove from heat, splash with about 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, and add basil and mint. Leave to cool.

Add courgettes to the pasta, scatter over feta and mix. Garnish with the egg and the extra mint leaves. Serve cold.

Do you have any yummy cold pasta recipes to share?

Herby courgette pasta salad with feta and egg

I don’t want to overly bombard you with my apple sauce experiments, so it’s back to good old trusty pasta today.

I love the Sainsbury’s Little One’s site when they do recipes three-ways: for babies, for toddlers and for adults. For example for their creamy spinach and leek pancake bake (must try this) the filling is pureed for a baby, a toddler eats the recipe as is,Β  and adults get a surprise of smoky ham inside. These recipes give me a renewed enthusiasm for cooking for Nicholas when my enthusiasm is lagging. They encourage me to experiment with my tried and tested recipes, working out more toddler-friendly versions of them. While I love making dishes everyone can eat, I really do love making meals just for Nicholas.

One of my ‘go to’ summer recipes is a cold pasta recipe I came across in The Times probably more than ten years ago. It’s an Ann and Franco Taruschio invention and I believe it’s in their 100 Great Pasta Dishes book (but don’t quote me on that). It’s a wonderfully fresh and filling dish, perfect to make the day before, perfect to take to work for lunch, and perfect to take on picnics or to have as a vegetarian option at a barbecue. I’ve made it a couple of times for my Italian in-laws and they love it (always a good sign!). I’ll write up that recipe tomorrow, but for now, here’s my toddler-friendly version of it.

I grated the courgette/zucchini to cut down the preperation time. However, next time I’ll dice it, as grated it sticks to itself and is difficult to separate, and Nicholas tends to pull large pieces of it from his mouth.

The original recipe uses penne and it really does need a short tube-shaped pasta. I used tubetti rigati which are like mini penne. You could also use macaroni or cut penne into shorter tubes after it’s cooked.

You can cook the egg and pasta in the same water, you just need to make a calculation based on the cooking time needed for the pasta you’re using. My tubetti rigati take 11 minutes to cook, so one minute after I put them into the boiling water I added the egg, cooking them together for 10 minutes before draining everything.

HERBY COURGETTE PASTA SALAD WITH FETA AND EGG

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Makes 2 large toddler servings
Keeps for a day in the fridge

100g courgette / zucchini, finely grated
2 medium basil leaves, finely shredded
2 medium mint leaves, finely shredded
1 egg
50g tubetti rigati (or other small tubed pasta)
100g feta cheese
Drizzle of olive oil
Pinch of salt (optional)

Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and gently lower the egg into it. Boil for 10 minutes. Plunge into cold water, peel and cut into 6 wedges. Cut each wedge in half.

Cook the pasta as directed on the packet. Drain and add a drizzle of olive oil to stop the pasta from sticking to itself. Put in a medium-sized bowl and cool in the fridge.

Squeeze the excess moisture from the grated courgette. In a small non-stick frying pan, cook the courgette for a couple of minutes over a medium heat. Take off the heat and stir in the basil and mint.

Add the herby courgette to the pasta. Mix in the feta and egg. Serve cold.

Variations:

  • chop the courgette into small cubes rather than grate it
  • add a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end