Monday 10 March 2008

PPN #54 The Princess of Pastas

I found the prettiest pasta in the Mediterranean Supermarket in Sydney Road last week. When I saw the pasta one of my first thoughts was just how wonderful it would be to share photos of it on the blog.

This type of pasta is called ‘farfalle’ which is Italian for butterflies, but it is also known as bowties. I have had it often but never striped and coloured like this. The pasta I bought was imported from Salerno. It is coloured with red beetroot, spinach, blueberries, tomato and curcuma (which I was told is a close relative of saffron). I had to get some of the ingredients explained and I was relieved there was nothing like the squid ink that is in some of their other coloured pastas.

I knew I needed something simple to feature the pasta. I remembered a mint and parmesan pasta recipe that I had written down years ago with the fantasy of an overflowing mint garden (which will probably never happen). The recipe is so simple it is embarrassing. I am not usually one to add lots of butter to pasta but this farfalle is a bit of a princess and seemed to demand only the best.

The blogger I know would love this stunningly simple and downright delicious recipe is Ruth of Once Upon a Feast who holds Pasta Presto Nights every week and is most appreciative of everything pasta. So I am sending this to Ruth for this week’s round up.

Pasta with Mint and Parmesan
(From the Age newspaper)
Serves 3-4*

500g pasta such as farfalle, penne, linguine or spaghetti
60g butter, cut into pieces
½ cup chopped mint leaves
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to packet instructions so it is al dente. Save about a cup of cooking liquid. Place chopped butter into the drained saucepan which you cooked the pasta in (it will melt in the hot saucepan). Add the cooked pasta, mint and half the cheese and toss. Add a bit of cooking liquid, as required. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve scattered with the remaining cheese.

* I actually cooked only 200g of pasta for the two of us and was a bit lackadaisical with quantities of butter, mint and parmesan. I have reproduced the original quantities but suggest you adjust as suits you because it is quite flexible. You could reduce the butter and add more cooking liquid if you wanted less fat. I served the pasta with beetroot and pomegranate tabbouleh and a green salad.

On the stereo:
Affenstunde – Popol Vuh


  1. My goodness those farfalle are ADORABLE! Damn, now I'll have to make the hike to Brunswick so I can get some too. What's the brand name, GGG? Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. they are pretty special aren't they MM - I was going to put the brand but had trouble working out what it was (and feel a little silly) - the label says Pastifico Pipolo Salerno - Sigillo di Garanzia! Hope that helps - they were right at the sydney rd end of the pasta aisle and pretty easy to spot when I was there!

  3. Wow, that is some gorgeous pasta! My mom used to make bowties when we were kids, though just plain wheat ones. Your recipe sounds like perfect simplicity--delicious. Sometimes just letting a few excellent flavors shine is the best way to approach delicious eating, I think.

  4. Those are just too cool! I love "differnt" types of pasta. In fact, whenever I am traveling anywhere, the first thing I do, besides look for a local wine shop, if look for the gourmet stores in the area. My search, pasta and olive oils. I adore differnt shapes and colors of pasta. Yours is abolutely too cute! Such a simple dressing to it! Butter and Parmsean are made for pasta. And adding mint, WOW. Even though you all are heading into autumn, this would be a great spring dish!

  5. It's so pretty, I love it!

  6. Hi! "curcuma" actually is the Italian word for turmeric. They call it "açafrão da Índia" (Indian saffron) here in Portugal. Whatever they used, the farfalle look delicious!

  7. God, they are such pretty colours. Amazing that they manage to maintain even a hint of that colour.

    Delicious sauce, too.

  8. I can honestly say that I've never thought to mix pasta and mint - how intriguing!

  9. Love that pasta!

  10. Beautiful pasta! I can understand why you wanted a simple sauce to show off the pretty pasta. Mint, butter and parmesan? I often have mint and will give it a try. It's a simple recipe but a very special, unique twist with the mint.

  11. That is gorgeous pasta indeed! When I get really delicious pasta like that I prefer to eat it with just butter and some Parmesan cheese so that I can enjoy the flavour of the pasta itself.

  12. thanks Ricki - I think simplicity is indeed the best when you have good ingredients

    thanks Deb - I too love a gourmet food store when travelling - but I often get sad I don't have enough room in my luggage for all I would like to take home

    thanks Mrs W

    thanks Tallulah - that is great information - the saleswoman was a bit unsure in the shop and on the phone trying to work it out with a colleague - your info make lots of sense!

    thanks Lucy - they are great colours - and the cooked pasta still look good - though not quite as pretty!

    thanks Monika - pasta and mint is a new one for me too but I am having a bit of a mint revival!

    thanks Ann

    thanks LisaRene - I think this recipe caught my eye for a great new use for mint!

    thanks Ashley - I'm usually have a tomato sauce or pesto but I was pleased I showed some self restraint with this pasta (although I did have quite a bit of salad)

  13. That pasta almost looks too pretty to cook!!!!

  14. thanks Pixie - it does look too cute to cook - now this is the sort of pasta kids should do their pasta art with

  15. The pasta is too pretty for words. I can't find it often, but when I do (they also make flat lasagna pasta that I've used to make ravioli. It does look prettiest before cooking. Too bad we can't eat it crunchy!

    Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  16. thanks Ruth - pretty stripey lasanga sheets? I don't think I saw it in the display but I will check when I am next there as it sounds amazing!

  17. That is so beautiful! Great addition to this week's roundup!

  18. OMG... I MUST have this pasta! Where EXACTLY did you get it on Sydney Road? I think I will have to make a trip there just to get it! Wow... the sauce looks beautiful too :)

  19. thanks hilary - glad you liked it

    thanks tara - I think the mediterranean supermarket is just bit north of Victoria Street on the east side of Sydney Rd - don't know the street number but it is huge


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