A plate of pasta is one of the most satisfying things in the world—whether coated in a rich tomato-based ragù, doused in a fragrant herb pesto, or smothered in creamy carbonara sauce.
Pasta has many merits: it is inexpensive, quick to make, and works both as an everyday staple or a dinner party showstopper. Laura’s approach is that the heart and soul of each dish is down to the sauce.
The dishes are divided into Quick and Easy with simple stunners such as Pepper and Parmesan and Lemon Artichoke Pesto. Vegetables and Fungi comes next with an umami-rich Wild Mushroom Ragu.
Following this is Fish and Seafood with a simple Salmon Carbonara as well as luxurious affairs like Asparagus and Scallop. In Meat and Poultry are Best-ever Meatballs, Spicy ‘Nduja Sausage. Flip to the Creamy and Cheesy chapter to find earthy Gorgonzola and Walnut and zesty Saffron and Zucchini.
Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Pasta
You can’t get an easier pasta salad than this—you don’t even have to cook the sauce! When the hot pasta hits all the raw ingredients, it combines all the flavours and unlocks the secrets of these wonderful aromatics. Your dinner is ready in minutes! I also make this without the mozzarella, replacing it with a generous squeeze of my umami paste—it then becomes a quick Puttanesca. A good tip when using mozzarella or burrata is to remove it from the fridge around 20 minutes before you wish to use it. At room temperature, they become creamier.
200 g/7 oz. dried pasta (shown above with Conchiglioni giant pasta shells)
450 g/scant 3 cups cherry or small heirloom tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 garlic clove, squashed, peeled and halved lengthways
a large handful of rocket/ arugula leaves
a large handful of basil leaves, torn
a generous pinch of dried oregano
250 g/9 oz. mozzarella, cut into bite-size cubes 5 tablespoons extra virgin
salt and freshly ground
Cook the pasta in a pan of salted boiling water according to the packet instructions.
Meanwhile, place all the other ingredients in a large serving bowl and season to taste.
Drain the cooked pasta and pour it into the bowl with the other ingredients. Toss with gusto to combine. Check the seasoning and serve immediately.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Ryland, Peters & Small.