I’ve never been a believer in diets. Lactose-free, paleo, no chocolate, no gluten or raw; as I have said before, I’m a supporter of everything in moderation. I believe if you deny yourself something, for example, saying that you will eat no chocolate, all you will think about is chocolate 24/7. Personally, some of the things I try to do is eat as little dairy products as possible (for example, substituting whole milk for almond milk in my smoothies), and have as many fresh vegetables as I can (for example, throwing in half a big bunch of Chinese broccoli with some chicken consomme and an onsen egg for a quick post-gym weekday meal).
One of my biggest weaknesses though, is carbs. While I can mostly do without bread, potatoes and pasta are my kryptonite. Potatoes are my favourite vegetable of all time as they taste fabulous however they are cooked, and pasta’s versatility makes it too hard to resist. FYI, I will do almost anything for a good Carbonara…
So when Casa Barilla sent me some sample products of their pastas and sauces, I decided to make it just a little healthy by going off one of the recipes in the book they had provided with the samples. I was inspired by the Castellane Parmigiane with Grilled Vegetables, Red Onion Pesto & Provolone Cheese, but decided to just use the interestingly-shaped Castellane Parmigiane with the Ricotta sauce they had provided, and then leave out the Provolone cheese.
As you can imagine, with the pasta and creamy red ricotta sauce, this is quite a comforting dish to have, yet with the grilled and marinated vegetables, it adds a wholesome crunch and earthy flavour to the dish, lightened with the aroma of the fresh basil. For me, this made me about five lunches, but it would probably be more appropriate to say it serves four for decent-sized meal portions.
You will need:
- 300g Barilla Castellane;
- 160g Barilla Ricotta sauce;
- 1/2 eggplant, 1 small carrot, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow capsicum, 1 red onion, all grilled in 0.5cm slices, then diced in 1cm cubes;
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped;
- 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar;
- 10 basil leaves, torn;
- 20g Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved;
- Extra virgin olive oil;
- Freshly cracked sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
In a large saucepan, bring plenty of water to the boil. While boiling, add salt (about 7g of salt to a litre of water is the recommended ratio).
Drop the pasta into the water and stir. Cook according to instructions on the pack.
Meanwhile, heat a grill pan and gently grill vegetables for two minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Allow to cool and cut into 1cm cubes.
In a large, stainless steel bowl, combine all of the grilled vegetables, garlic, basil and balsamic vinegar with a little oil. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir well.
Drain the pasta when cooked to your preference. Reserve half a cup of the cooking water.
Toss it together with the vegetables and the Ricotta sauce. Add a little of the drained cooking water if the sauce needs to be loosed up a little. Stir to combine.
Serve with Parmigiano Reggiano shavings on top.
For any readers idling away the March evenings, a little reminder that the popular food festivals March into Merivale and ArgyleXchange are both in full-swing, so take advantage of the special meal deal and events that will extend into the next month of April 🙂
Enjoy your week, lovelies xx