Friday, 20 May 2016

Pasta perfection is my new Mecca!

When I was at University I wasn’t actually into pasta that much, the pasta and pesto staple diet of many students wasn’t part of my repertoire. I’m not really sure why I was like that, I probably thought I’d be being a bit lazy so instead favoured a more complicated alternative. Fast forward 10 years and now I have fallen in love with a good bowl of humble pasta. I’ve been trying to perfect all the old classics that I feel an old Italian Grandmother would pass down to her children, keeping it simple but all about the fresh ingredients. It literally has become a bit of an obsession, one of my cupboards is just full of different types of pasta! It’s ridiculous 

I recently shot a pasta called ‘Pastificio Di Martino' for Pulp Magazine (Click here for picture1and picture 2) and starting divulging into the history of it. With over 100 years of manufacturing experience and pasta still being dried on special racks in the street it really is an incredible pasta and a tastes delicious. Pasta might be quick to make but the same amount of time and passion has gone into it as any other classic dish! The Pastificio pasta didn’t last long in my kitchen but it helped me to perfect some recipes that I’m going to share with you

I can’t call these recipes my own but they’re definitely worth trying to perfect, they’re both heavily based on recipes from ‘The Geometry of Pasta’ which is well worth a read and will help you on road to pasta perfection. 

Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and pepper) is a delicious simple pasta and Spaghetti alla Vongole (Spaghetti and clams) done right is near perfection.  These are both perfect for a summer dinner in the garden sipping a glass of fresh Vinho Verde. If there’s two pieces of advise I’d give you it’s to spend a bit more money on the pasta (don’t buy 79p pasta as it’ll always taste like 79p pasta) and also add a good amount of salt to the cooking liquid (12g salt per litre) as pasta is made un-seasoned.


Ingredients (for 2 people) - 

  • 200g Bucatini pasta
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 100g grated Pecorino Romano 
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Reserved pasta water

Method - 

  • Boil the pasta until just before cooked
  • In a separate frying pan heat the olive oil and add half the pepper
  • After a few seconds add 4 tbsp reserved pasta water
  • Add the pasta and sauté for a few seconds until there is no loose water
  • Take the pan off the heat and add the cheese. Keep turning the pasta until the cheese is mixed through and melting into the pasta
  • Serve with the remaining pepper

This pasta is so delicious and fresh and all the flavours should marry together perfectly. The liquid that comes out of the clams when cooking adds a taste of the sea which is so fresh it’s addictive. If you’re ever trying to impress someone with a pasta dish this is the one to do it with!


Ingredients -

  • 200g Spaghetti
  • 6 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 500g Clams
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • Chilli flakes / 1 dried chilli chopped into flakes
  • 1 handful chopped Parsley
  • 4 tbsp White Wine

Method -

  • Put the pasta on to cook
  • While the pasta is cooking heat a wide frying pan over a high heat
  • When smoking hot add the oil and then quickly add the garlic, chilli and clams
  • Fry for a few moments (20 seconds, until the garlic starts to colour) and then add the parsley and the wine
  • When the majority of the clams have opened add the drained pasta and cook together until the rest of the clams have opened. The sauce should be half oil, half water
  • Serve immediately

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