Pasta in its many forms is one of the most satisfying things to eat. Whatever shape or size, sauce or filling, it brings a warmth and a joy from the first forkful. It can be as humble or as posh as you want to make it, starring in midweek meals that are heavy on the greens, hearty soups, comforting bakes and classic combinations with a twist. It even inspires pasta-like creations – such as courgetti – which use vegetables alone.
Different shapes of pasta work better with different sauces. Long noodles such as linguine and spaghetti work so well coated in smooth or creamy sauces. Flatter, wider strands such as pappardelle catch chunkier sauces such as ragu. Tube-shaped pastas, such as rigatoni and penne, also work well in creamier sauces. Tiny grain-shaped pastas suit soups and salads. But it’s all down to personal preference.
Buy quality ingredients for these recipes – I don’t mean the most expensive, but if you’re making a pasta dish with only six ingredients, say, they may as well be the best that you can find.
Recipes from Posh Pasta by Pip Spence (Quadrille, £12.99). Order your copy from books.telegraph.co.uk
Lightly spiced tuna mixed with sweet stewed peppers and a little lemon, with a salty kick from capers, makes a perfect light supper for long evenings. Add a little ricotta if you want a creamier sauce.
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 35 minutes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- 20g flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and stalks chopped
- 2 red peppers, cored, deseeded and sliced
- 1 orange pepper, cored, deseeded and sliced
- Grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of half (cut the unjuiced half into wedges to serve)
- 2 tbsp baby capers
- 360g tuna in olive oil (drained weight)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 300g dried rigatoni
- Place a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the olive oil, spring onions, cinnamon, chilli powder and chopped parsley stalks. Sauté for two minutes, then add the peppers, lower the heat and cook for 25-30 minutes until softened. Add the lemon zest and juice, capers and tuna. Stir in the extra virgin olive oil and keep on a low heat for a few minutes. Season to taste.
- Meanwhile, cook the rigatoni in a large pan of boiling, salted water, following packet instructions. Drain, reserving a cupful of cooking water, and add pasta to the frying pan.
- Toss together with a little of the pasta water and most of the parsley leaves. Divide between plates and scatter over the remaining parsley leaves. Serve with the lemon wedges.