“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” ~ Federico Fellini
If you’re looking for easy vegetarian recipes, there’s no better place to get started than with a parade of pasta! Whether dressed with vibrant veggies or luxuriating in a simple but sybaritic cheese sauce – there’s something simply irresistible about steaming billowing bowls of fresh pasta, especially when flanked by a rustic focaccia.
As with most dishes characteristic of Italian cuisine, the compelling draw of pasta is that the possibilities are as varied as the regional diversity of Italy. One can’t go to Rome without indulging in Cacio e Pepe (although you’ll now find this age-old recipe across the menu of trendy Italian restaurants world-over); while Sicily for instance, is synonymous with Pasta alla Norma, named after Bellini’s 19th-century opera.
Gathered here is a collection of these classic vegetarian pasta recipes, as easy to whip up as they are soul-stirringly delicious!
Easy Vegetarian Pasta Recipes
Cacio e Pepe
Literally translating to Cheese and Pepper, this humble pasta was for centuries the on-the-go meal for shepherds in Ancient Rome as it required just three staple ingredients: pecorino, black pepper and dried pasta. Given that these ingredients are just as sustaining today, relatively easy to come by and super quick to throw together – it’s no surprise that Cacio e Pepe has been whipped up with frequency through lockdown.
The Perfect Pesto
Did you know that ‘pesto’ originates from the Italian word ‘peste,’ meaning ‘ to pound.’ Just the very thought of pesto conjures up images of nonnas in the Italian countryside pounding fresh herbs, pine nuts and parmesan with a wooden pestle in a marbled mortar! Of course, the real beauty of pesto is that it’s a forgiving recipe, open to adaptation using different herbs beyond basil, a variety of nuts and add-ins.
Creamiest Mushroom Pasta
A trilogy of fresh mushrooms lends a warm embrace to pasta, their earthiness cutting through the creaminess of an unapologetically-rich sauce, thickened with a classic roux of flour and butter.
Pasta alla Norma
A supremely-satisfying medley of macaroni, tomatoes, devilishly deep-fried aubergine, basil and grated ricotta salata cheese – this signature Sicilian recipe is inherently comforting! This is my (healthier) rendition of a classic, swapping in baked aubergines and a smattering of other seasonings to elevate the flavours a teensy bit more.
Creamy Tomato Pasta
This quick-fix recipe is perfect for those nights when you’re craving the cathartic comfort of a creamy tomato pasta but don’t have the time or patience to stand by a stove for it to simmer for hours. All you need is store-cupboard staples (including tomato paste and cream) and fifteen minutes of your time.
Pasta e Fagioli
With many of us turning to beans and pulses as cooking staples during the recent lockdown, Danilo Cortellini has shared with us his signature recipe for Pasta e Fagioli. Translating to “Pasta and Beans”, this wonderfully-rustic and heartwarming soup is typical of the Italian countryside from Tuscany to Veneto and South of Italy.
The chicest Italian resto in town, CinCin are letting us in on the secrets of mastering the art of making fresh, hand-rolled pasta in the form of Strapponi. Deliciously-ragged, hand-torn chunks of pasta gently tossed with butter, sage and cheese. Could you think of a dish more simple or gratifying?
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