After the holiday meals, which hark back to times past when Christmas banquets made up for the austerity of everyday fare, we are happy to wave goodbye to all those high-calorie and high-protein dishes such as roasted capon, suckling pig, baby lamb or kid, preceded by hearty traditional soups and endless appetizers –ibérico ham, goose foie gras and shellfish of all sorts. In contrast, Francesco Tristano's suggestion is an oasis of levity, the perfect exotic counterpoint to the excess of last month's holiday season.
Ingredients (serves 2):
300 g mezzi rigatoni
shiso leaves (if unavailable, mint or basil)
1 myoga (if unavailable, 1 shallot)
extra virgin olive oil
1/4 of the juice of one lemon
toasted sesame seeds
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add the cubed zucchini along with the pasta and cook together.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix a tablespoon of umeboshi paste, one of extra virgin olive oil, one of soy sauce, and one of oregano. Stir in the lemon juice, a chiffonade of shiso leaves, and the chopped myoga. Add pepper and cayenne to taste.
When you strain the pasta with the zucchini, set aside a bit of the water, which you will add and mix into the sauce in the bowl.
Last of all, mix the pasta with the sauce and serve it with parmigiano reggiano and toasted sesame seeds on top.
Tristano tells us that this syncretic mix of East and West takes all of ten minutes to prepare (the time to cook the pasta –that's all).