Thursday, 4 November 2010

Wholemeal penne with squash & salted capers (+bacon version)

I love recipes that I can easily convert into vegetarian or to meaty cooking both versions at the same time. I am not a big meat lover and I could eat it 3 times a week, but my partner is a big man, he is working physically and however he appreciates vegetarian food he is able to have two veggie dinners a week, otherwise he needs to eat meat or fish.

Therefore I figured out how to convert many of favourite recipes so I can cook two dinners at the same time and keep ourselves happy and well fed.

This is one of those. I have found this recipe on one of Polish forums and have changed it slightly (also by adding bacon) had it in favourites for two years until I was able to buy salted capers from a local delicatessen. It was worth waiting.

Serves 2

200g wholemeal penne
small butternut squash, deseeded, peeled and cut into 2 cm dice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp salted capers
1 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
some grated Grana Padano
3 rashers unsmoked bacon, sliced in strips
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 200 C. Boil a big pan of salted water for pasta.

Rinse the capers carefully and leave to dry.

In an ovenproof pan heat the oil and fry the squash. After few minutes place the pan in the oven. Roast the squash for about 10 minutes, adding the butter, capers and garlic for last 2 minutes.

Boil the pasta al dente and in the dry pan fry the bacon strips.

Drain the pasta and mix with the roasted squash and add bacon to one half. Serve on the bowls sprinkled with some Grana Padano and chopped parsley.


  1. One recipe - two versions - what a great idea.

    It's nice to see someone use salted capers. I'm always so thrilled when I can find them and buy several jars. Usually the ones in vinegar are all that's available here.

  2. Great recipe. I was put off wholemeal pasta years ago when I tried it and it was really strong in flavour and a bit gritty in texture - now it seems to be much better - and healthier! Great post!

  3. Thanks a lot both fo you! :)

    Carolina (what a lovely name! ;))
    I have never tried salted capers before and however I like thise from the brine, salted seem to be more suitable for hot dinners. I also made an oven chips with capers - excellent!

    Joey, I remember that my partner was not so keen on wholemeal pasta, but now he likes it because it is hard to overcook it, and it has this lovely bite. There is nothing worst than too sfot pasta.

    Thank you both for your kind comments and all the best!

  4. P.S. SAM, I know Carolina is not your name, but the name of the place, but I could not resist this comment about the name. ;))))


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