Quick summer pasta with vegetables

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Toy animals in gorgeous local fabrics at the craft market. I’ll be traveling again soon, and really needed to clear out the vegetable drawer. I also have French classes two days after work now, very enjoyable but quick dinners are needed those nights. The stars had clearly aligned for a quick summer pasta with vegetables. This comes together in the time it takes to cook the spaghetti and get Stranger Things season 3 ready on Netflix.

Quick summer pasta with vegetables (serves 3)

300 grammes of spaghetti, or pasta of your choice
3-4 tbs olive oil
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 local yellow squash, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 small eggplant, chopped
salt, pepper
a couple slices of leftover prosciutto, sliced

grated parmesan (use vegetarian cheese for fully vegetarian meal)

Boil the pasta. Gently fry the squash in a large frying pan, then add aubergine pieces and cherry tomatoes (the tomatoes will release some juices which stops the aubergines from absorbing all the olive oil).  We added a little prosciutto, to help empty out the fridge shelves. Add some generous pinches of salt and a little pepper to taste. When pasta is ready, drain it and toss it all in the frying pan. Add grated parmesan, and enjoy.

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Not so pretty, but fast and very tasty. You could do this with other vegetables too. The grated parmesan does make a difference  in pulling the dish together. As usual, getting the pasta cooked but still a little al dente is needed, as it will absorb some moisture from the vegetables. I used tap water to boil the pasta, we have not heard of cholera outbreaks in Accra this rainy season yet. There is a polio outbreak in Tamale, though.

Did anyone see Conan O’Brien in Ghana in June?  Most odd to see images of him on Oxford Street. He also went to Kumasi.

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Fusilli with broccoli and prosciutto

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Back in Accra, where it is hot and sunny as usual. Here some handwoven baskets by the roadside, and it is always tempting to pick up another one.

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Need a broom or a rake? These are also available by the roadside. I was walking from Cantonments to Osu, on my way to the Chinese supermarket to buy fresh tofu and bok choi. Anyway, this month I am doing a pantry challenge and a no-shop month. Time to excavate the cupboards and the freezer, and to be a bit creative with what is on hand. I had some prosciutto from Rome, slightly out of date but still perfectly edible, so in it went, as a little luxury.

Fusilli with broccoli and prosciutto

One head of broccoli
1 tbs olive oil
One onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
200 grammes prosciutto
400 grammes of pasta
Handful of grated parmesan

Cut the broccoli into florets and blanch them in salted boiling water until tender, maybe five minutes? Fish the broccoli out and boil the pasta in the same water. At the same time, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion and garlic. Then add the prosciutto, diced (scissors work well). When the pasta is done, toss it all together and serve with grated parmesan.

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If you have safe water, add a little starchy pasta boiling water to moisten the pasta before adding cheese. There is typhoid and cholera here, and I cooked this with tap water, so better to be safe.

Enjoy with season five of Alias: we have three episodes to go before the very end!

Spaghetti with zucchini, ricotta and chicken sausage

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Thanks to travelling, I had zucchini again. They can be found in Accra, but as those were imported and cost 17 cedi each (USD 3.45), they are just too expensive for me. This was an impromptu dinner, a cross between pasta con ricotta e salsiccia and spaghetti tossed with fried zucchini, garlic and cheese. A friend had chicken sausage, so we added that and hey presto, dinner!

Spaghetti with zucchini, ricotta and chicken sausage

300 gr spaghetti
2 tbs good olive oil
3-4 chicken sausages  (or other meaty sausage you like)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 zucchini, sliced into medallions  (not too thick)
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of chili flakes

to serve:
250 gr ricotta

Boil the pasta in salted water. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the sausages. I like to squeeze the meat out of the sausage casings, into bite-sized pieces. The chicken sausage was not very greasy so I added olive oil. Add chopped garlic. Once the sausage starts to be cooked through, add the sliced zucchini to the pan and continue to fry until they are cooked through. Add a little salt and pepper, and some chilli flakes. If you have some leftover wine, a splash would be nice.

Drain the pasta, keeping a little cooking water, then put it back in the pot off the heat. Spoon in ricotta, and stir through the zucchini and sausage. Add a little starchy pasta cooking water if it looks dry. Serve with grated pasta.

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And from Accra: the ex-Ghana Airways plane which is now a restaurant was painted white over the summer.

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