Rachel Roddy’s Midsummer pasta recipe
“This is my harlequin pasta, another recipe from the Italian food writer Rita Pane that has become a summer favourite, especially if we are a big group,” says food writer Rachel Roddy.
“The beauty is that the heat of the pasta and vegetables melts and softens the edges of the mozzarella and Parmesan, which unites everything. You can roast the vegetables but frying is best. You could do this in advance, but they will need warming through in the oven before you mix everything together. Use loads of basil – the scent should fill your nose and the room.”
How to make Rachel Roddy’s Midsummer pasta
Olive or vegetable oil, for frying1 large aubergine, diced into 1cm cubes1 red pepper, diced into 1cm cubes2 courgettes, diced into 1cm cubesSalt2 large ripe tomatoes1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed600g mezze maniche, penne, fusilli, rigatoni100g Parmesan, grated200g mozzarella, dicedA big sprig of fresh basil leaves, ripped
1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil for the pasta.
2. Pour enough oil into a deep, medium-sized frying pan for it to come 2.5cm up the sides and heat until hot. Working in batches, fry the diced vegetables in the oil until soft and golden, then blot on a kitchen towel, season with salt and keep warm. Tip the oil from the pan.
3. Plunge the tomatoes into the almost boiling water for a minute, then lift them out with a slotted spoon and refresh under cold water, at which point the skins should slip off. Roughly chop the tomatoes.
4. Put the frying pan back on the heat with four tablespoons of new oil and the garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant, add the chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt and cook until soft and saucey – about 10 minutes.
5. Once the water is boiling, add salt, stir, then add the pasta and cook until al dente. Once the pasta is ready, drain, tip into the tomato pan and toss.
6. Tip the pasta and sauce into a large bowl, add the fried vegetables, Parmesan, mozzarella and ripped basil, toss thoroughly and serve.
An A-Z Of Pasta: Stories, Shapes, Sauces, Recipes by Rachel Roddy is published by Fig Tree, priced £25. Photography by Jonathan Lovekin. Available now.