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"La Bella Pasta"

A few years ago, there was a restaurant in Edward Street in Bellville where we often went to supper. They had a dish called, as far as I can remember, "La Bella Pasta".

This is my attempt at it -- not that I ever make it according to the recipe, ever...

You need about 250 or 300 gr pasta -- I use tri-colour screw noodles but penne or shells or anything will do, really. Cook that in boiling water until almost done, then dump it in the colander, wash under cold water, sprinkle with olive oil, and keep warm on boiling water.

Other ingredients : you need at least some of the following stuff... use what you have, or feel like.

Smoked chicken breast or grilled chicken or salami, about 150gr
Carrots (I use baby carrots)
Mushrooms (Portbellini or baby button)
Zucchini / Baby marrows
Brocolli florets
Frozen peas
Small salad tomatoes
1 can chopped tomato (not optional)
Feta cheese (or mature cheddar, or colchester, or...)

Fry the chicken with spices of your choice (I lean towards cayenne pepper and cumin), remove and keep warm. Chop carrots in 1cm chunks and microwave for a few minutes until done but still crispy. Fry mushrooms with herbs of your choice, remove and keep warm. Fry onions and garlic, add tomato (or just start with the tomato) and maybe some sugar and / or cinnamon, add zucchini, add brocolli, put lid on pot (you're doing this in a flat black pot, of course), steam until brocolli is done. Stir in peas and small tomatoes, heat. Add chicken and mushrooms and pasta. Stir the whole thing through, serve with feta and gherkins on top.

The next time, modify the recipe to include bell peppers or beans or cauliflower or ham or whatever you have on hand :-)

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