Friday 10 April 2020

Saucy Pasta Hoops

Saucy Pasta Hoops.  Did you used to like Spaghetti hoops when you were a child?
Did your children like them? I recently got myself a new cookbook.  

I know.  I have plenty of cookbooks, but this one appeared to be filled with delicious looking simple recipes. 

Half Baked Harvest Super Simple by Tieghan Gerard.  So far  I have not been disappointed.  Every recipe I have tried from the book has been excellent.  I highly recommend. 

So good I am tempted to also buy her other one.  She is a real talent when it comes to cooking and presentation.

This is a recipe which really intrigued me. Not only was it pasta, which I love, but it was a rif on those tinned spaghetti hoops that children love.

 With one exception . . .  it is a more grown up version. How could I not try it???

It is also perfectly sized for two, which meant that I got to enjoy some on the day and then enjoy a second feast on it the day after.  

I cooked something else completely for my husband. As you know he is not overly fond of pasta, although he does like tinned spaghetti.  Go figure. Some things just don't make sense.

The cookbook author used anelli for hers, which are a type of hoop pasta. I didn't have anything like that to use, what with lock down and all.  

I used what I had, which was a mix of ditalini and small elbow macaroni.  I didn't have enough of either one to make up the full amount.

As you can see, however, it worked perfectly.  This was absolutely delicious.

I think any small size of pasta would work fine. Hoops, shells, etc.  Just pick a pasta that will cook in the alloted time for the recipe.

It was also incredibly simple, using very little in the way of ingredients.  It does use fresh rosemary, which I happen to have in the garden.  

I wasn't too sure about that, as rosemary is kind of a strong flavoured herb, but it totally works. I am not totally enamoured with rosemary actually, but this it was really good here.

Olive oil is flavoured with first garlic, and then the rosemary and some crushed chili flakes, which provide a bit of heat to the dish.  

I don't like my food too spicy, so I only used a pinch.

Once the oil has heated and flavoured, you add some tomato puree (tomato paste.)  You need to whisk this in carefully off the heat as it will splatter if your oil is too hot, so don't let your oil get too hot.  

Also use a good Olive oil. 

I used Peranzana Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Azienda Agricola Ramieri Rosanna - which I got from Cibilia. It is a beautiful premium olive oil, pure Italian and has a really nice flavour. 

If you are making a recipe with so few ingredients, it helps to use the very best of them that you can, and this is fabulous! Mono arietal Peranzaa from Apulia produced using only Organic Olives, this olive oil is harvest on the family estate of Ramiri Rosanna. 

The Rosanna family has a real passion for agriculture and it shows in their products!

Another ingredient you will need to use is Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste).  You need to whisk this very carefully into the oil mixture. If your oil is too hot it will spatter and could burn you. 

I favour the Cirio tomato products.  Yes, I can be a bit of a tomato snob, but in a dish where tomato is the prevailing flavour, why not use the best!

Once you have done that, it is a simple matter of adding a quantity of water, bringing it to the boil and then stirring in your pasta.  

Dry pasta.  Yep, the pasta cooks in the garlic and herb tomato water.

This means that the tomato flavours really penetrate the pasta intensifying the flavours beautifully.

That's basically it, other than some seasoning and a bit of grated Parmesan cheese that gets stirred in at the end.  

This was incredibly tasty.  I fell in love with this, totally, and I think you will too.

Saucy Pasta Hoops

Saucy Pasta Hoops

Yield: 2
Delicious and super simple to make. Adapted from a recipe in the Half Baked Harvest Super Simple Cookbook.


  • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • a healthy pinch of  chili flakes (crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 3 TBS tomato puree (tomato paste)
  • 600 ml water (2 1/2 cups)
  • 90g short tubular pasta (I used ditalini and tiny macaroni) (3/4 cup)
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 55g grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
  • Fresh basil leaves (to garnish if you have them)


How to cook Saucy Pasta Hoops

  1. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a medium sized saucepan with a heavy base over medium low heat. (Make sure the garlic doesn't burn.) Cook, stirring, until very fragrant, only a minute or so, then add the rosemary and red pepper flakes.  Cook for about a minute longer.  (Again, don't let it burn.)
  2. Take off the burner and whisk in the tomato puree.  Then whisk in the water. Return to the burner and bring to a boil.  Stir in the uncooked pasta.  Season with some salt as desired and cook at a slow boil, stirring frequently until the pasta is al dente, about 12 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide between two heated bowls and pass more parmesan for shaking over top.  If you have fresh basil, you can tear some over top.

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This was pure and simple comfort food.  Perfect for these days in two ways, one it satisfies your need for comfort and two, it uses only a few ingredients.    

A great wine to serve with this would be this Barbera del Monferrato - la Tridesca 2018. It has a bursting fragrance, vinous, full of freshness and hints of red fruits; a lively flavor and great freshness, with a cheerful and indomitable character.  

This is Gianluigi, the maker of this fine wine. He plays with his surname ‘Orsini’ which in Italian means ‘little bear’ and in fact the logo of his micro winery company is a bear. Also, he likes to call himself bear justifying the fact that he’s not a social person at all. 

He’s not on any social media and he will never be. He enjoys to make a super good wine because the wine he makes is the wine he drinks. 

Gianluigi retired from his office job quite a while ago and has been making wine for the last 35 years always keeping the quality very high and I can guarantee you he makes wine for passion and he doesn’t care at all if his wine sells or not. The important for him is to drinks his own wine and enjoy it just for the sake of it. 

I think its really nice to know the face behind the things that we use, don't you? You can purchase this wine at Cibilia.  Purveyors of fine Italian foods. 

  Saucy Pasta Hoops 

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  1. Another delicious sounding dish to pencil in for next week. This sounds lovely and so easy! And thank you for the book recommendation - I downloaded it straight away. You can't have too many good cookbooks, can you?

    1. Marie, you are so going to enjoy this and the book as well! I love it myself! Happy Days. No such thing as too many cookbooks! I agree! xoxo

  2. Oh boy...another "to try" on the ol' dance card LOL. I love husband, like yours, can take it or leave it, so I like the small batch and easy idea. BTW, I used your chocolate chip cookie recipe. It really is wonderful. I think next time though I will decrease the amount of chips as the dough sometimes didn't stick together because it was too full of chips. Gee...never thought there'd come a day when I'd say "too many chocolate chips" LOL.... But it's a for-sure keeper! ~Robin~

    1. LOL Robin! Can there ever be too many? LOL Sometimes I mix milk and semi sweet which is a great combination also. Pleased you liked the cookies. DO MAKE THIS PASTA DISH! Its really wowsa! Happy Easter! xoxo


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