The days are slowly but surely getting brighter and warmer, and what better way to celebrate the arrival of summer than with a colourful and light meal. This is a dish you can really show off with – the vibrant colours and delicate flavours make this one perfect for a dinner party al fresco.
I have consciously decided not to use meat in my recipe today, which means the dish isn’t too heavy. Plus, it’s vegetarian as well, so if you have any veggie friends you can invite them over and have a great meal to wow them with! But be careful – in my recipe I use parmiggiano, which doesn’t actually classify as a vegetarian cheese. Non-vegetarian cheese is made with rennet, which is an animal product and helps the milk proteins to curdle and therefore allow the production of cheese. It’s a small detail, but make sure you get it right if you have vegetarians over for dinner. Ideally, you’d want a mature hard cheese that is ideal for grating (or is already grated!) – if you are struggling, ask your vegetarian friend to suggest any favourites!
The end result for this recipe delivers a dish that is delicate in flavours – if you want to add a bit more zing, try adding some lemon juice and zest to the finished dish. If you find your sauce to be a bit too thick for your liking, you can add some water to it – a ladleful of the cooking water would be ideal, but some ordinary water will do as well. And finally, don’t be afraid to try different flavours! My choice of vegetables came down to presentation and personal preference – but you can substitute any of the ingredients with other vegetables. Mange tout and asparagus are only two of the options you have! Always make sure you get vegetables that take about the same time to cook – or alternatively you can boil the ‘odd one’ separately and add it to the final dish.
350g – 400g pasta
400g assorted vegetables (I use broccoli, spinach, fine beans and peas)
150g soft cheese
basil to taste
salt and pepper
parmiggiano or vegetarian hard cheese to taste
lemon juice and zest is optional
Watch the video for instructions, and do get in touch if you have any questions, as silly as you think they might be!
Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.