Last week’s post on what Irish Catholics eat during Lent was a big hit. Seems there are quite a few of you out there who, like me, need a warm meat-free meal at the end of a Lenten week.
With that in mind, I offer you the following recipe for Pasta Ponza. It comes courtesy of the bright and beautiful Giada De Laurentiis and is found in her cookery book Giada at Home. You’ll forgive me for saying so but I turned instinctively to this particular chef after watching Pope Benedict XVI resign yesterday. The news from Rome and the beautiful images of Italy made me think Italian food seemed appropriate for this Friday’s Lenten Dinner Challenge. Giada herself was born in Italy but was then raised in Los Angeles. Stylistically, she reminds me of our own Rachel Allen.
This recipe is molto bene! Enjoy.
Serves 4 to 6
Unsalted butter, for greasing
2 cups/12 oz red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups/12 oz yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
½ cup/1oz Italian-style seasoned dried bread crumbs
1 pound/16oz ziti or other short tube-shaped pasta
1 ½ cups/8oz grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
1. Place an oven rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5. Butter an 8×8-inch baking dish. Set aside.
2. Combine the tomatoes, capers, olive oil, salt and pepper in the prepared baking dish. Toss to coat.
3. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the tomato mixture. Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden. Cool for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Spoon the tomato mixture over the pasta. Add the cheese and toss well. If needed, thin out the sauce with a little pasta water. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.
* Note: Photo was taken from Giada De Laurentiis’ cookery book Giada at Home.