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Simple and delicious

Sometimes simple recipes over-deliver in terms of satisfaction. We both love cooking, and though neither of us really have Masterchef quality (or do we?!), there is something delightful about making something delicious.

My Mum is visiting at the moment, but the last week has been pretty terrible. So although I wanted to cook something amazing, I was really feeling tired. After a little bit of thought (and a lovely suggestion from CIA), I remembered this gem:

Spinach and Ricotta Tortiglioni

Some tortiglioni; an onion; some garlic; olive oil; a very few chilli flakes; some zucchini; some spinach; two cans of tomatoes; salt; pepper; a little basil; a little oregano; some ricotta; some parmesan

Now, if you want specific amounts, I am not the right person to ask. I tend to guess, make up and estimate these things, so if you want clarification, I can try, but I cannot promise it will be any clearer. It also depends on how many people you want to serve! This brings me to the method…

Chop up the onions and garlic (maybe one decent-sized onion and three or four cloves of garlic, if you like garlic). As you do, have some olive oil heating in the pan (if you chop quickly — you don’t want the oil to smoke). Cook the onions and garlic until they’ve softened, and if you like that kind of thing (I do) caramelised a little.

Add some chilli flakes. Just a few. Seriously, like one-quarter of a teaspoon. Maybe even less. You’d be surprised how just a soft hint of the chilli enhances the flavour. More would destroy the dish!

Add the tomatoes, and turn the heat down low. Add some (maybe 1 teaspoon) oregano and basil. Let the whole thing simmer for a while. Maybe an hour, something like that.

In the meantime, slice the zucchini thinly and then fry it separately. Drop some spinach (like, how about five handfuls) in with the zucchini. Stir it a little, get the left over oil on the spinach. It will wilt in glorious fashion, and the oil gives it this lovely glossy sheen. By the way, disclaimer time, I don’t do weird low-fat cooking. Sorry if you were looking for that.

Now, cook the pasta.

Once it’s done, put two large tablespoons of ricotta into the pasta. Stir it around – get the pasta good and coated. Stir the delicious tomato concoction in too. It’s starting to look delicious. Now, the spinach and zucchini. Put it on a plate with some salad, maybe some bread. If you like it, put some grano padano, or parmesan, or whatever hard cheese floats your boat. Eet smaakelijk! Bon appetit! Drink with red wine. We had a Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, a red Italian wine. Gorgeous. My Mum liked it too.

Good cooking is always better shared.

– PJD

Photo taken before eating by PJD

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