Everything about this pasta is great. It’s full of veg, knocks your socks off with lemony dressing, has little feta cheese treasures waiting to be found in among the folds of spaghetti… But you know what I don’t love about it?
I just couldn’t get a good snap. The three I salvaged came from hours of Photoshopping and much gloominess of face.
I shouldn’t really blame the pasta, of course, given that I was the one wielding the camera. Let’s get back to the good parts.
It’s not a recipe, so much as a suggestion. I was introduced to it by a chum, when I was on a trip to Manchester, and I’ve made it a number of times since, though it’s never been the same twice. The whole point, for me, is to throw in whatever veg takes my fancy when I’m doing the shopping. I generally make it when I feel like I need a vitamin bomb, and try to add in at least five different veg (or fruit, if we’re being picky).
In this incarnation, there are red and yellow peppers, red onion, garlic, courgette, asparagus, tomatoes, black olives, pea shoots, basil and feta. Past incarnations have included fennel, spring onion, spinach and parsley.
Side note: I’m aware that feta is neither fruit nor vegetable.
That brings me on to another delightful feature of this difficult-to-name recipe: it’s in the middle of a great big identity crisis. It’s based around spaghetti, so that makes it Italian. Except it has feta and olives in it, so does that make it Greek? And with all that tomato and pepper action, could it be part Mexican? Add the fact that I always end up making it in a big batch, and using my wok to toss all the ingredients together, and perhaps there’s a hint of Asian cuisine in there too… It’s a mashup. A glorious mashup.
As mentioned, it’s not a recipe really. It’s more a case of stir-frying some veg of choice (Mediterranean, in my version, but go with what feels right), boiling some spaghetti, then combining them both. I always add an emulsion of olive oil and fresh lemon juice, plus a scattering of cubed feta. Just before serving, I toss in the fresh herbs, or other leafy additions, plus a generous serving of black pepper.
Second side note: when I say ’emulsion’, I mean I whisk together lemon juice and olive oil to make a slightly thickened and glossy-looking mix of the two. It takes a bit of elbow grease, and it only holds together for a short time, so you have to make it just before using.
Veg and feta pasta finds itself on my dinner table so often because it’s so open to adjustment, plus it’s quick to make. If you’ve got your ass in gear, the veg preps and cooks in the time it takes the spaghetti to boil, a mere ten minutes. Once tossed together with the lemon and olive oil, I generally let it sit over a low heat for a couple of minutes, so everything can get really friendly before I DEVOUR IT.
Apparently excessive consumption can cause sudden use of caps lock.
It’s not going to stop me.