My simple Italian

Asparagus carbonara with Linguine


Tagliatelle with pesto and courgettes

35 minutes, serves 2 as a starter or for lunch.

250g fresh Tagliatelle

2 courgettes, cut into long strips

For the pesto

1 garlic clove, peeled

150g basil leaves

75g pine nuts, preferably Mediterranean

100g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. First make the pesto. Using a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to a smooth paste. Add the basil leaves and pound so the leaves turn to a pulp. Add the pine nuts and crush until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons water and emulsify, then add the Parmesan cheese. Finally, slowly work in the olive oil.

2. Cook the pasta with the courgettes in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 3 minutes - the pasta should still have a bite.

3. Meanwhile, warm half the pesto in a frying pan.

4. Using tongs, lift the pasta and courgettes from the water and add to the frying pan. Toss with the pesto and add 2-3 tablespoons of the pasta water to loosen the sauce so it coats the pasta strands.

5. Check and adjust the seasoning and serve with the remaining pesto on top.

25 minutes, serves 2 as a starter.

300g asparagus

250g dried Linguine

3 organic egg yolks

1 garlic clove, crushed with a pinch of sea salt

100g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus spears, then cut at an angle into 2cm slices. Keep to one side.

2. Cook the Linguine in a pot of boiling salted water until just al dente (this will be about 2 minutes less than the cooking time on the packet).

3. Meanwhile, put the egg yolks and garlic into a sauté pan (off the heat) and beat just until the yolks are broken up. Add a few spoons of the pasta water and keep to one side.

4. When the pasta has been cooking for about 5 minutes, add the asparagus to the pot. Continue cooking until the pasta is ready.

5. Using a large metal sieve, remove the Linguine and slices asparagus from the pot and add to the sauté pan. Add the Parmesan. Set the pan on a medium heat and toss the pasta by shaking the pan, or using a wooden spoon, so that a sauce forms and coats the strands of pasta nicely. Add a few more spoonfuls of the pasta water if the sauce is a bit too thick.

6. Serve with more Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.

Tagliarini with scallops, prawns and samphire


25 minutes, serves 2 for lunch.

100g trimmed samphire

2 large cleaned scallops

6 medium raw prawns, peeled

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

4 Datterini or cherry tomatoes, each cut into quarters

2 tbsp crème fraîche

250g fresh or dried Tagliarini pasta

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Blanch the samphire in boiling water for 1 minute; drain.

2. Cut each scallop horizontally into three discs. Cut each prawn into three pieces. Toss the scallops and prawns in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Heat a non-stick frying pan and sear the prawns and scallops so they take on a little colour. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the crème fraîche and samphire. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

4. Cook the Tagliarini in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Using tongs, remove the pasta from the water and add to the frying pan, along with a few spoonfuls of the pasta water. Toss well to mix. Season with black pepper and possibly a bit of salt but be careful as the samphire can be salty. Serve immediately.

Spirale pasta with onion squash, pancetta and cannellini beans


45 minutes, serves 2 for lunch.

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

5 slices pancetta, cut into strips

1 garlic clove, chopped

4 sage leaves, chopped

1 small, ripe onion squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1cm pieces

150g cooked cannellini beans

250g dried spirale pasta

freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

This is a dish for autumn because from September you can buy onion squash that is ripe and full of sweet flavour. You can tell by the colour of the skin and the flesh whether the onion squash is ripe or not; if there are any traces of green or the squash is slightly bitter or very starchy, then it is not ripe. If you are making this in November, be sure to finish it with a drizzle of the green, new season's Tuscan olive oil.

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan and fry the shallot, pancetta, garlic and sage until the pancetta is a light golden colour. Add the squash pieces along with 3 tablespoons water and a pinch of salt. Place the lid on the pan and cook gently for 10 minutes until the squash is soft.

​2. Add the cannellini beans and stir to a mix, then leave on a low heat to keep warm.

​3. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until just al dente. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pasta to the sauté pan and add 3 tablespoons of the pasta water. Toss well. Check the seasoning and add the remaining olive oil. Finish with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Theo Randall's Italian Kitchen

Badenerstrasse 420

8040 Zurich