Today we’re going to explore a gorgeous recipe, which makes the most out of several staples of Roman cuisine: ‘straccetti’ pasta with pumpkin, mint, and Pecorino Romano cheese. It was sent to us by one of our Cesarine in Rome.
This is a showstopper of a dish, with the delicate mint adding a hint of freshness to the intense Pecorino cheese.
There are several variations of this recipe, often using entirely different ingredients or pasta types. We’ve chosen ’straccetti’, which are slim, hand-torn strips of pasta, the ideal shape for holding onto all those delicious flavours. However, you could go for thick ribbons of ‘pappardelle’ for a similar effect.
1. Lightly fry two cloves of garlic and a sprinkle of dried chili flakes in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil to add a base of flavour. Discard the garlic cloves when they become golden in colour, and be careful not to let them burn, or your oil will be bitter.
2. Add the zucchini to the pan and cook until golden, then add the pumpkin (a handful per person). Add a little splash of water to help them cook.
3. While the zucchini and pumpkin is cooking, put a large pot of water on to boil for your pasta.
4. Cook the pasta ‘stracci’. Drain the pasta when they are cooked to ‘al dente’ (soft but with a little bite), making sure to leave a little water in the pan when you do so. Add the pasta to the pumpkin and zucchini.
5. Add some of the pasta water to the vegetables and pasta with a ladle to make a sauce. The starch inside helps to bind the ingredients.
6. Sprinkle generously with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and chili flakes.
7. Finally, garnish with a good handful of fresh mint leaves - make sure to rub them gently between your thumb and forefinger first, to release the flavours.
Learning to cook in a local home is the best way to connect with the local culture! The recipes you learn will stay with you for life. What could be a better souvenir than cooking knowledge?
Have a look at some of our selected culinary experiences below, and turn your Roman Holiday into a cooking adventure.
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