Caserecce with Courgette & Cherry Tomato ~ This vegetarian pasta could possibly be one of my favourite of all. To me, tomato pasta is the quintessential Italian dish and the highest form of comfort food.
Cherry tomatoes grow in abundance in Sicily and are known locally as "pomodoro Pachino", named after the small coastal town in the Syracuse province where they were first cultivated.
Courgettes also grow throughout the year, and they are used in a variety of dishes, being a very beloved and versatile ingredient, due to their delicate flavour and soft texture.
Caserecce (from casereccio which means "homemade") also originate from Sicily, and are short twists of pasta, which appear rolled up on themselves. They go particularly well with chunky tomato-based sauces, or with Sicilian or Calabrian pestos as their texture tends to hold the sauce really well. Caserecce are often made by hand by nonne (grandmothers) throughout Sicily, and remain one of the trademarks of Sicilian cuisine.
And lastly, I chose to top this dish with grated ricotta salata. The words 'Ricotta' means re-cooked and 'Salata' means salted. Ricotta Salata is a Sicilian cheese made from the whey part of sheep's or cow's milk (or sometimes buffalo), which is then pressed, covered in salt and aged for at least 90 days to 2 months. It is milky white in colour with a firm texture and salty taste.
The cheese is most famously used in a dish called "Pasta alla Norma" - a pasta dish with a rich tomato sauce, deep fried chunks or slices of aubergines and grated ricotta salata. The same topping goes extremely well on pizza as well!
I used the Caserecce I was #gifted by @OrganicoRealFoods - this lovely pasta it's one of my favourite shapes and this brand held their bite really well. I left them in the pot a bit longer than I should have as I was shooting the video, and thought they would be overcooked, but they still remained al dente.
- By Isabella Akshay