- about 180g rigatoni (should be ok for 2, with bread and a dressed green or chicory salad on the side)
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 4 shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- the stalks from a small bulb of fennel
- 1 celery stalk
- olive oil - be liberal here
- a good splash white wine or sweet vermouth
- pitted green olives, to taste (about 5 each?). Not the ones in brine.
- zest of half a lemon and juice, to taste
- lots of fresh parsley, basil and marjoram if you've got it
- a couple of tablespoons of white balsamic, if possible
1. Get a pan on to boil with lots of salted water for the pasta. Gently heat some olive oil in another for the sauce.
2. Peel and finely chop the shallots, then take down the celery, garlic and fennel into fine pieces.Sweat the lot in the olive oil
until it all begins to soften and go translucent. Your pasta water is probably boiling by now - forget al dente, I find most dry pasta is ready after 11 minutes.
3. Once the veg is soft, slice the olives into about quarters or just smash them into rough pieces and add them to the pan.
Deglaze with the wine or vermouth, then turn the heat up and pour in the tomato, white balsamic and season. Keep on a
high heat as the pasta cooks, adding water from the pasta pan if needed.
4. Just before you strain the pasta, add the lemon zest to the sauce and check the seasoning for acidity, using lemon juice if
needed. Throw in the chopped herbs and add the drained pasta to the pan, tossing the sauce through everything. Loosen
with olive oil and dress with more herbs, to get stuck in your teeth and stop this being a go-to date meal with cold Pinot.
Eat, preferably from a shallow pasta dish, listening to Tuscan women sweep doorsteps of late-ish summer dust.
SOUNDTRACK: Sigur Rós - Ísjaki. Not at all Italian but a song I like cooking to. So there.