Thursday, 19 September 2013

Orecchiette with Zucchini, Saffron & Leeks

Italian men are impossible to please when it comes to cooking.  Especially Southern Italian men, and especially with pasta.  They will always always compare your meal to that of their mother's and trust me -- it'll never match up to that.

True story: I was cooking with my cousin and her boyfriend and we were making courgette, saffron and prawn pasta.  I was chopping the onions, my cousin was dicing the courgettes, and her boyfriend was there complaining.  His mother sliced, rather than diced the courgettes.  Yes, that was apparently a legitimate complaint.  They’re both over 20, might I add.   And this is not a rare case.  This is also why I hate cooking for my Southern Italian father. 

However, fortunately, my flatmate’s not picky at all with the way I cut my vegetables.  I personally think courgettes are better diced in pastas, but I suppose it depends.  Here’s the recipe of a vegetarian version of the pasta. 

Serves 1
80g orecchiette
1/2 cup diced zucchini
1/4 cup chopped leeks
a pinch saffron
Pecorino cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it generously with coarse salt. 

In a pan, heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil, and when hot, add the leeks and zucchini.  Fry and turn the heat down to low and cook for 10 minutes.

Put the orecchiette in the pot of boiling water and cook until very al dente.  Drain and reserve cooking liquid.  Put the pasta in the pan to fry with the leeks and zucchini, turn the heat to high, add a pinch of saffron.  Add a bit of the cooking liquid and fry for two more minutes.  Serve with a generous grating of pecorino cheese. 

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