The dinner of winners

It’s apricot season! The lorikeets are squawking indignantly from the gum tree across the road now that the tree is netted, and for some reason various neighbours are ‘just dropping by’ for longer and longer chats…

I’m not sure the crop will be enough for jam this year but it’s certainly enough to, er, keep everyone regular – and provide breakfast, afternoon snacks and dessert. At one point this evening I declared that we could just have apricots for dinner since there was hardly anything left in the kitchen, but then I noticed the rest of the garden. And the pine nuts that Mum had collected from fallen pine cones by the local playground! So we had:

DELICIOUSLY RANDOM PASTA

  • Multicoloured bowtie pasta (absolutely brilliant coloured Italian pasta  – a godsend gift from a friend’s holiday)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large tin finely chopped tomatoes
  • big bunch of rainbow chard (any silverbeet or spinach will do), rinsed, stalks removed, roughly torn up
  • big handful of basil, torn more delicately
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 2 Tbsp anchovies
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • freshly grated parmesan
  • light olive oil and extra virgin olive oil
  • pine nuts

METHOD

  • Put the pasta on to boil with a little light oil and pinch of salt in the water
  • Heat another saucepan with a dash of light oil and fry the garlic without letting it colour
  • Add the tin of tomatoes
  • Chop the anchovies and capers finely, add to tomato pot along with the oregano and salt to taste. Stir regularly.
  • When pasta is cooked, drain in a colander over a large bowl to catch the cooking water. Toss pasta in extra virgin olive oil.
  • Return some of the hot water to the pasta cooking pot, bring back to a simmer and add silverbeet/spinach/chard to blanch for a minute or two.
  • Warm a small saucepan and briefly toast pine nuts in it. Turn heat off as soon as they start to change colour, tip them into a bowl before they burn.
  • Discard the remaining cooking water from the bowl, put pasta in the bowl and drain the greens in the colander. Rinse with cold water, squeeze out the wad of greens as soon as cool enough to handle, then chop finely and stir into the tomato sauce.
  • Serve pasta into bowls. Top with tomato/spinach sauce, grated parmesan, torn basil, pepper and pine nuts.

You could use any pasta in this recipe, but what I loved about these bowties (apart from their spectacular colours including deepest black squid ink) was their silky smooth texture. A wide-cut fresh egg fettucine might give a similar effect.

Now for just one more apricot…

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