Neil Perry's strozzapreti with fennel, tomato and olive vinaigrette

This pasta sauce is a little like the dressing for a pasta salad.
This pasta sauce is a little like the dressing for a pasta salad. Photo: William Meppem
Difficulty
Easy
Dietary
Vegetarian

I love these types of pasta sauces in the warmer months, combining seasonal vegetables with a simple vinaigrette. Short pastas seem to work best for this dish, and you can add other diced vegetables such as broad beans and artichokes. Asparagus is always great and tomatoes in summer are awesome. Cut up and fold through prosciutto or salami for a little meat and extra complexity. For a vegan dish, omit the anchovies and substitute the breadcrumb mix for the cheese.

Ingredients

400g dried strozzapreti

1 small fennel bulb, cut into 4cm dice

2 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 4cm dice

3 anchovies, chopped

½ cup black olives, chopped

1 tsp salsa macha chilli paste (available online from Fireworks Foods)

juice of 1 lemon

40ml red wine vinegar

2 tbsp basil, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve

2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

150ml extra virgin olive oil

grated parmesan, to serve

For the breadcrumb mix (optional)

4 tbsp sourdough breadcrumbs

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Method

1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for 8 minutes. Drain.

2. Combine the fennel, tomatoes, anchovies (if using) and olives in a bowl. Season with a good amount of sea salt and a big grind of black pepper. Add the chilli paste, lemon juice, vinegar, herbs and olive oil, then combine.

3. Add the drained pasta to the fennel mix, fold through and check the seasoning.

4. Divide between 4 pasta bowls and serve topped with freshly grated parmesan and extra basil.

5. To make the breadcrumb mix, if using, heat oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional). Spread breadcrumbs on a tray and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Cook until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper, and when cool combine with parsley.