Pasta Tritato
Pasta-Tritato.jpeg

This is a pasta dish I made up one Sunday afternoon when we had practically nothing in the fridge and I was too shattered (OK hungover) to walk up to the shops...

From our fridge, I grabbed the handful of mushrooms, half a red bell pepper, a somewhat shriveled onion, packet of bacon and the remainder of a pot of basil dip which was a left-over from the Saturday night before drinks and nibbles.

I don't really know what to call this pasta but needless to say, it is one of the best left-over meal successes I have ever had. It's a real winner flavour-wise and has received rave reviews from everyone I have cooked it for (including the In-Laws so that's gotta be a good sign right?) It's super easy to make, the only prep required is to finely chop all the ingredients before cooking - hence why I have decided to call it, for the sake of this blog; 'Pasta Tritato', which I believe in Italian this means; 'chopped' or 'minced'.

It combines great textures; the crispy bacon, earthy flavours of the portobello mushrooms, crunch of the red peppers and nutty consistency from the basil/pesto dip. I also add in some dried chili flakes to add a little little kick. All the above elements work really well together.

Ingredients

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Serves 4 people

1 Spanish onion

8-10 slices of bacon or pancetta - fat trimmed

4 portobello mushrooms

1 large red bell pepper/capsicum

250g chunky style basil dip*

Pinch dried chili flakes - optional

Maldon sea salt or similar, freshly ground black pepper

400g spaghetti or fettuccini (100g per person)

Freshly grated parmesan to serve

*Note: I use the Australian brand; 'Wattle Valley Chunky Basil Dip with Cashew & Parmesan' in this dish, but any chunky style basil dip would work. I have also made it at times using a jar or good quality regular pesto - it works just as well.

Method

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1: Finely chop the onion, bacon/pancetta, mushrooms and capsicum into very small pieces.

2: Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and sautée the onions until soft.

3: Add the finely chopped bacon to the onion and fry until browned and crispy.

4: Add the mushrooms and peppers, a good pinch of salt and black pepper and continue to cook over a low-medium heat for approx. 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally. Add in the basil pesto half way through and chili if desired.

5: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add a splash of olive oil and cook the pasta as per the manufacturer's instructions, drain.

6: Combine the cooked ingredients to the pasta and toss together.

7: Serve with fresh grated parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.