While I do like my pasta to be nearly smothered in a healthy portion of tomato sauce (not floury, creamy, white sauce), this kind of pasta is light and beautiful, goes perfectly when you are serving a vegetable soup as a part of the meal.
In my case, I made a light Minestrone (no pasta in the soup) with plenty of celery. Since the soup was already tomato based, this aglio olio pasta was the perfect accompaniment. The addition of celery was inspired by the fresh beautiful greens that came along with the celery stalks. They are so incredibly fragrant, that it is a shame to chop them off and discard them. I will even go to the extent of saying that pick your celery with the tops on. It shows that celery is fresh, it keeps well for longer and you can put the leaves to good use, like my recipe below.
Celery greens are very rich in nutrients too!
If you are just getting started with Italian cooking, this is the perfect recipe to get started. Few ingredients, simple steps and it gets done in no time. And, does it look pretty or what!
Farfelle Aglio Olio with celery leaves and crumbled paneer
- 2 cups celery leaves, picked, washed thoroughly
- 1/2 litre Paneer milk from cow's or cubes half cup
- cup pasta A dried short (I used Farfalle)
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 6 - 8 cloves garlic , crushed and minced
- 3 chillies dried red , crumbled or finely chopped (1-2 tsp of chilli flakes).
- 1 tsp basil parsley each dried and .
- Parmesan cheese (optional).
- In a large pot, boil water with salt and 1 tsp oil for the pasta and cook as per instructions on pack.
- Finely shred the celery leaves.
- Meanwhile, pour 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large wok, once moderately hot, add minced garlic and chilli flakes.
- Saute for a few seconds, then add the shredded celery greens. Once the greens wilt (1-2 minutes), add the crumbled or cubed paneer. Sprinkle salt and pepper, along with any dried herbs of your choice.
- Toss gently for 1-2 minutes.
- Once the pasta is done, drain and add to the wok.
- Toss well to coat. Check for salt and adjust.
- Serve hot with a topping of freshly grated parmesan cheese.