Rigatoni with basil and tomatoes

Somebody was asking for vegan recipes on one of the forums I visit. She is due for a visit from her daughter-in-law and was stuck for ideas. My first thought was ‘Easy! Most of the recipes on the blog are vegan.’ .¬†On closer inspection, however, I realised none of them are ūüôā Vegans eat cheese, don’t they? ūüėČ I asked around my Italian friends, and after much explanation of the concept of veganism, I came up with this recipe. Baking the dish concentrates the flavour of the¬†tomatoes wonderfully. If you’re cooking it for a strict vegan, check that the bread crumbs¬†don’t contain any milk.¬†¬†¬†Serves 6

rigatoni with basil ingredients

  300 grams  rigatoni
¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†kilogram¬† top quality tomatoes — sliced
¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†large bunch of basil — chopped
  1      tablespoon  bread crumbs
          olive oil

  • Cook the rigatoni in salted water. Drain and dress with plenty of olive
    oil, half the basil, and the bread crumbs.
  • Put a layer of the tomatoes in an oiled oven proof dish
  • Top with some basil, a drizzel of oil, a little salt, and a layer of
  • Repeat until all the ingredients have been used up. Finish with a layer of
  • Bake in a medium oven for about 45 minutes
  • Serve hot.

rigatoni with basil and tomatoes finished dish

Orecchiette with aubergine

Serves 4

Orecchiette with augergine ingredients

Orecchiette with augergine ingredients

  • ¬† 400¬†grams orecchiette — preferably fresh
  • ¬† 2 medium aubergines — cut into cubes (leave the skin on)
  • ¬† 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¬† a large handful of basil — torn into small pieces
  • ¬† 1 clove garlic — whole
  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan with the clove of garlic.
  2. When the garlic starts to colour, add the aubergines.
  3. Add the basil and season with salt.
  4. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes
  5. Discard the garlic.
  6. Serve with the cooked orecchiette
Orecchiette with augergine finished dish

Orecchiette with augergine finished dish

Orecchiette with tomatoes and ricotta

¬†¬†This is the first dish I had cooked for me in Pulgia. Orecchiette¬†is the most traditional pasta of the region. The most popular way to serve them is with turnip tops (cime di rape) , but this way is also common. Feel free to leave out the chilli.¬†This dish uses¬†ricotta dura¬†which is a type of aged ricotta from Puglia. It has a¬†fairly mild, but distinct flavour.¬† Don’t try this using regular soft ricotta, it won’t be the same. It would probably be ok with a mild pecorino if you can’t find ricotta dura.¬†Serves 4

Orrecciete with tomatoes and ricotta dura ingredients

Orrecciete with tomatoes and ricotta dura ingredients
  • ¬† 400¬† grams¬† orecchiette — fresh if possible
  • ¬† 300¬†¬†grams¬† cherry tomato — halved
  • ¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†handful¬† basil leaves — torn
  • ¬† 3¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† tablespoons¬† ricotta dura — grated
  • ¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†clove¬† garlic — peeled
  • ¬† 3¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†tablespoons¬† olive oil
  • ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†pinch¬† chilli flakes
  1. Fry the garlic clove in the olive oil until golden and then discard.
  2. Add the tomatoes and chilli and continue cooking for about 15 minutes
  3. Just before the end of cooking, add the basil
  4. Mix with the cooked orecchiette, top with the cheese and serve

Capelli d’angelo with basil

This dish is so simple it doesn’t really count as a recipe ūüôā Definitely a case of “less is more” though. Serves 4

Capelli d'angelo with basil ingredients

Capelli d'angelo with basil ingredients

  1. Cook the pasta until al dente (about 2 minutes)
  2. Toss with the olive oil, basil and cheese.
Capelli d'angelo with basil

Capelli d'angelo with basil