Not sure if this is a thing, but it is a thing in my world – Freestyle Pasta.
I was inspired by Lidia Bastianich. She is an incredible Italian chef. I enjoy watching her make every dish look so effortless and delicious. And so it should be.
Creating nourishing meals does not need to be complicated. Some of the simplest dishes, are the most delicious. As long as the ingredients are fresh and compliment each other.
For this recipe, it is important to start with a base, which is very easy. This part I learned from watching Lidia. I’m sure my technique is not as culinary as hers, but it works for me. As I mentioned previously, it must not be fussy, and must come from the heart. My meals are always cooked from my heart!
The base consists of: EVOO, sliced garlic, hot pepper flakes, lemon juice, and cooking water from the cooked pasta, and of course pasta. Spaghetti or spaghettini are my 2 favourite pastas for this dish.
After the base is made, anything goes!
I recently tried adding white kidney beans and sardines, and I finished the dish off with freshly sliced basil, drizzle of EVOO, and a grating of parmesan cheese.
I originally served the sardines on the side, seasoned with a sprinkle of smoked Maldon salt. This way, my husband and I had the option of adding the sardines to our salad, or to our pasta dish. It was delicious with the pasta!
With the addition of EVOO, beans, and sardines, this dish is an excellent source of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), as well as an excellent source of calcium and fibre. Sardines are a super food for calcium and Omega-3 fatty acids. EFAs are important for our entire body in many ways. These fats take care of our brain, eyes, skin, heart, joints, and hormones. That’s just the tip of the ice berg. Soon I will make a post all about EFAs.
Serves 4 people
Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Stop the cooking time 1 minute before the directions. The pasta must still have a bite. Don’t worry, the pasta finishes cooking in the sauce.
Have all your ingredients ready. When there is 5 minutes left to cook the pasta, turn on your frying pan.
Ingredients for Sauce
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch or two of hot pepper flakes (this amount is optional)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs
Sauté the garlic and hot pepper flakes with the EVOO for a few of minutes, until the garlic smells bright. Do not let the garlic brown or it will have a bitter taste.
Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a ladle of the pasta cooking water. This is the base of your sauce.
Taste your sauce and see if you like it. You can add more lemon juice if you prefer. I do not add additional salt because the pasta water is already seasoned with sea salt.
At this point, I add halved cherry tomatoes and the beans to get them combined with the sauce. The beans make the sauce creamy. This is a great alternative from cream if you are avoiding dairy.
Drain your pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water. You will not need the whole cup.
Using tongs, toss the pasta with the sauce in the frying pan. Continue tossing around for a minute or two. adding a small ladle full of the pasta water.
Divide up into 4 pasta bowls, top with fresh herbs such as basil or parsley, and a grating of parmesan cheese.
Please feel free to comment. I would love to know your input.