Monday, 25 May 2015

easy tomato chilli garlic pasta

An easy pasta dish with fresh rigatoncini, tomatoes, garlic, chilli, herbs and parmesan.

I love going to the farmers' market, but I tend to stick to fruit and vegetable purchases when I visit. Recently, however, a fresh pasta vendor caught my attention as I was strolling past his stall. He was down to his last few containers of fresh pasta and he was willing to get rid of them quickly for a good offer. I bought two containers for five dollars, and opened up the one of them as soon as I got home to make a delicious fresh pasta lunch. I am not quite sure what this variety of pasta is, but it looks like it may be rigatoncini, a smaller version of rigatoni. Ridged, slightly curved, and with straight-cut ends. Lovely and rustic.

The idea for this rigatoncini recipe started with the basic ingredients of aglio e olio pasta - olive oil, garlic, chilli, salt and pepper. I embellished it with fresh tomatoes and dried mixed herbs, stretched the sauce further with cooked pasta water, then crowned the final dish with finely grated Parmesan cheese. Simple! To make it vegan, simply omit the Parmesan, or substitute it with vegan cheese or nutritional yeast instead. Also, feel free to use other types of pasta - other medium-sized ridged tubular pasta such as penne rigate or tortiglioni will work well, and spiral pasta such as fusilli or rotini should also be suitable.

You can easily modify this tomato chilli garlic pasta recipe to make a good vegan pasta dish, too.

easy tomato chilli garlic pasta
(serves 2 as a main)

350g / 12oz fresh pasta or 200g / 7oz dried pasta (ridged tubes and spirals work well in this recipe)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, thinly sliced (use less chilli and/or remove the seeds if you want it less spicy)
4 tomatoes, sliced into eighths
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Cook pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until just slightly shy of al dente. Exact cooking times depend on the type of pasta used - different shapes and sizes have different cooking times, and fresh pasta cooks faster than dried pasta. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and halt the cooking process with cool running water, then drain again and set aside.

Warm up the olive oil in a pot or saucepan with low heat. Gently cook garlic and chilli in the olive oil for 2 - 3 minutes or until the garlic is soft and golden. Add tomatoes, dried herbs and the reserved pasta water. Turn up the heat to bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down the heat and allow it to bubble moderately for approximately 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender and disintegrating, and the liquid thickens to form a light sauce. It should not be too watery, but it is also not very thick. There should be just enough sauce to thinly coat all the pasta when you add it.

Turn up the heat and then add the cooked pasta along with salt and pepper. Stir the pasta through the sauce for about 30 seconds or until everything is warm. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if you like. Ladle the pasta into bowls and top with grated parmesan.

Fresh rigatoni with tomato, garlic, chilli and parmesan.


  1. It is so good to be able to get fresh pasta in the farmers market. And I love how you kept it simple in your pasta dish. Simple yet delicious!

    1. Yes it's great! It's not a very big market but it's pretty nice. :)

  2. Oh, yum! I'm loving pasta now that the weather has turned here (the scales aren't loving it so much, but it's a price I'm willing to occasionally pay!). I am determined to try my hand at making it fresh at least once this year. It would be wonderful to have a farmers market or the like handy to pick some up from though :)

    1. I would love to make fresh pasta from scratch someday. We used to do it as a family with those machine things, it was fun!


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