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PASTA AND ROASTED VEGETABLES SALAD WITH GARLIC, LEMON AND BASIL DRESSING... and a stroll through the south of Italy


PASTA AND ROASTED VEGETABLES SALAD WITH GARLIC, LEMON AND BASIL DRESSING... and a stroll through the south of Italy


PEPERONCINOS

 Discovering the gastronomy of the place in all the trips I make is one of the things I enjoy the most. I love getting to know the local food, how they use them and for wich elaborations, the typical dishes, their history and traditions... Taking ideas, pictures and inspiration everywhere is a passion and of course tasting, smelling and eating all I can!! 

So after visiting Calabria in the south of Italy, I was inspired to use some ingredients that are very common there to prepare a nice and fresh pasta salad.

PASTA AND ROASTED VEGETABLES SALAD WITH GARLIC, LEMON AND BASIL DRESSING... and a stroll through the south of Italy

ZUCCHINI

Bergamot is very typical from Calabria. It's a small citrus fruit similar to lemons that they use a lot to elaborate liquors, drinks and teas. Also the zest is used to extract the essential oils that are utilized to make cosmetic products.
Thanks to the good weather they have practically all year long, there are plenty of vegetable gardens with loads of tomatoes, zucchinis, aubergines... Lots of good produce they use to make typical dishes like the eggplant lasagne or the parmigiana. Red onions are typical from Tropea; the Tartufo di Pizzo, a chocolate and hazelnut ice cream filled with melting chocolate; the n'duja, a spreadable spicy sort of sausage. Fish like the tuna or the swordfish, the mozzarella and the ricotta cheese wich is used a lot both in savory and sweet recipes... artisanal ice cream, the Amaro and Liquirice (made with liquorice) liquors...
 Extra virgin olive oil is everywhere, same as the famous peperoncino, a spicy sundried pepper very typical of Calabrese cuisine.
 A great and diverse gastronomy, a delight for all the senses.

RED ONIONS

PASTA

DRIED PEPERONCINO

 So I gathered a few os those ingredients like the zucchinis, eggplants, tomatoes, onions, mozzarella... to make this pasta salad that is super easy to make but full of Meditarranean flavors, and that spicy special touch of the peperoncino. I like cooking the veggies a bit with the grill before I put them in the oven to give it a rustic and roasted taste, but this step is totally optional. In order to add some freshness to the salad I like using fresh tomatoes and sprinkle some lemon zest at the end. 

So here's the recipe...
PASTA AND ROASTED VEGETABLES SALAD WITH GARLIC, LEMON AND BASIL DRESSING... and a stroll through the south of Italy

TOMATOES

PASTA AND ROASTED VEGETABLES SALAD WITH GARLIC, LEMON AND BASIL DRESSING... and a stroll through the south of Italy


PASTA AND ROASTED VEGETABLES SALAD WITH GARLIC, LEMON AND BASIL DRESSING

INGREDIENTS: (Serves 4)

  • 300 gr. rice pasta 
  • 2 tomatoes 
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 garlic cloves with the skin
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 lactose free mozzarellas
  • Dried thyme
For the dressing:
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 peperoncino / dried chilli (or to taste)
  • Salt
PASTA AND ROASTED VEGETABLES SALAD WITH GARLIC, LEMON AND BASIL DRESSING... and a stroll through the south of Italy

INGREDIENTS

PASTA AND ROASTED VEGETABLES SALAD WITH GARLIC, LEMON AND BASIL DRESSING... and a stroll through the south of Italy


ELABORATION:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Cook the pasta following the package indications. Drain it, allow to cool and set aside. Drizzle some olive oil over it so it doesn't get stick and dry.
  3. Cut the zucchini (with the skin), the onion and aubergine into small chunks and mix them in a bowl with some olive oil. 
  4. Sauté on the grill a few minutes then remove and place on a large oven pan. Smash the garlic cloves and add them as well... Drizzle some more olive oil and some thyme.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  6. Once they are cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  7. In the meantime we prepare the dressing using a mortar. Put the roasted garlic without the skin, the lemon juice, some salt and mash until you get a paste.
  8. Add the chopped chilli and basil and keep mashing. At the end add the olive oil and mix well.
  9. Cut the tomatoes and mozzarella.
  10. When all ingredients have chilled put everything on a large bowl: the pasta, aubergine, zucchini, onion, tomato, mozzarella, pour the dressing, mix it up, drizzle some olive oil and salt to taste. Then sprinkle some lemon zest and done!!
PASTA AND ROASTED VEGETABLES SALAD WITH GARLIC, LEMON AND BASIL DRESSING... and a stroll through the south of Italy
  
PEPERONCINO

PASTA AND ROASTED VEGETABLES SALAD WITH GARLIC, LEMON AND BASIL DRESSING... and a stroll through the south of Italy



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