Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Tuscan Pasta Salad

August 22, 2011 1 comment
Tuscan Pasta Salad

Tuscan Pasta Salad ©2011 Paul Davey

I have recently been doing some design work for a small but perfectly formed client who has a rather splendid café in Victoria (I will put a link to his website when I have finished building it. Nag me!). Part of the design work is to shoot photographs of his rather excellent food. He sells takeaway pasta dishes that you can mix and match from a wide range of ingredients. He also sells some trusty ‘standard’ items (believe me, they are not standard, nor are they average or ordinary) that are listed on his menu.

Now, I am a man of symmetry. I like symmetry, especially when I’m designing menus boards. He had five salads. I needed him to have six – two rows of three. So whilst doing the layout, I shoved an entirely imagined item, Tuscan Pasta Salad, into the empty space.

Then came the photography and I decided to invent the Tuscan Pasta salad for real. It is dead simple to make, healthy and delicious.  And Tuscan. Which sounds Italian because it is.

The recipe consists of two main groups of things: Roast veg and pasta. So here goes:


  • 1 red pepper – remove the core and chop into biggish chunks
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 10 halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • Some halved mushrooms
  • Coarse ground pepper
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • Pesto
  • Sea salt
  • A few trimmed green beans (for steaming)
  • A few tender stem broccoli florets (to steam with the beans)
  • Pasta – any short pasta will do – I’d recommend conchiglie _ I used fresh gigli (it means flower in Italian) made fresh by my client. You are unlikely to find it in the shops.


  • Cook the pasta as usual – I slightly overcook the pasta for a salad by about a minute
  • Get all the other stuff except the beans and the broccoli and put them in a pot with a small amount of olive oil – I only use a tablespoon
  • Put the lid on the pot and subject the contents to an earthquake. This mixes everything up, gets the salt and oil etc. where it should be
  • Sling the veg on a roasting tray and roast for 10 minutes at 200 degrees
  • Steam your beans for seven minutes, adding the broccoli when there are three minutes remaining.
  • Rinse the cooked pasta in cold water to cool it down (or have it hot – I don’t care and it is deluxe whichever way you have it)
  • Add your roasted veg and the juices to the pasta
  • Stir with a mighty vigour
  • Serve
  • Sling the steamed broccoli and beans on top
  • Add toasted pine nuts if you want to really impress yourself. And me.

As with all my recipes, don’t get over anxious about quantities.  Just follow your nose!


Feeding the Frozen Few: Penne a’ la Arctic

January 9, 2010 Leave a comment
Penne a'la Arctic

A lovely crunchy cheesy topping blankets this delicious, unctuous winter pasta meal.

In case no one noticed, here in the United Kingdom, it is winter.  This means that is is somewhat cooler than in summer. In fact, today, my car told me that it was 3 degrees below freezing. And there is this white stuff on the ground and occasionally in the sky. It is bloody freezing. Various people who know nothing about these things tell me this is all down to climate change. Whatever. I’m a sceptic. Read more…

A very impotent dish with prawns and pasta in a salsa sauce

December 4, 2009 4 comments
Prawns with pasta and a salsa sauce

Dead simple, quick to cook and delicious. Supposed to be garnished with basil leaves and Parmesan. Didn't have any. Sorry.

No, that’s not a misspelled word in the headline.

Several years back when I was still in Zimbabwe, I was attending a launch do in Bulawayo for a merchant bank client of mine. All the great (?) and the good  (?) were there. The place was crawling with bodyguards, government ministers, permanent secretaries and businessmen thieving bastards and their vile, grabbing wives who all, regardless of the obscenity of their wealth ill-gotten gains, busily stuffed their very expensive designer handbags with canapés, the odd bottle of Fanta (yes, you read it right, Fanta) and whetever else they could lay their claws on. It was quite a sight. Read more…

A Bargain Basement Bellyfull

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment
Pasta with frankfurters and mushrooms

Serve this with a nice, fresh salad. Health, health, health, sweetie!

Having had a splendid weekend of guzzling expensive food with a pair of deeply delicious steaks on Saturday and a Topside Roast on Sunday, it is now time to realise that I am poor.  With this in mind, I have been looking at several Samsung-branded cardboard boxes as I’m told that these make excellent beds when sleeping in the streets. Apparently the fridge boxes are the pick of the bunch. Read more…

Categories: Recipe Madness Tags: , ,

No Idea About Authentic Italian Cooking? Here’s an Ida

November 20, 2009 Leave a comment

If you live anywhere near Queens Park in London, you might want to indulge yourself in a masterclass of Italian cooking. I received in my inbox today, an email from this well reputed, locally favoured family-run Italian restaurant. If I wasn’t tied up with tightening the brakes on the cat, and counting all my eggs in one basket before they hatch, I’d attend. (Also, if I could spare the pretty reasonable cost, but I have to watch the pennies at the moment etc. etc)

Saturday Cooking Workshops in Queens Park

Read more…

Categories: News Tags: , , ,

Flaked Salmon and Shrimp with Penne Surprise

November 13, 2009 1 comment
Salmon pasta

Forgot to get parmesan.

I’ve always wanted to add “surprise” to the name of a dish and today I got my chance. I caught this one off guard, in a moment of quiet introspection and surprised it by adding “surprise”. How cunning am I? Was that a fox I just saw skulking in the shadows with the runner-up trophy? Read more…

Categories: Recipe Madness Tags: , , ,

Dirt Cheap Dinner

November 3, 2009 2 comments

Unless you’ve just painted a big “X” on a busy London intersection, you are unlikely to be wealthy enough to eat delicious expensive gourmet food every evening. With this in mind, I would like to share with you this recipe that has the double benefit of being both cheap and quick. Read more…