Pasta with olives and peppers, Trecce dell’orto alla contandina – Recipe

0610Trecce dell’orto alla contandina

I don’t know how it happens, but I always have plenty of pasta on hand. I seem unable to follow the very sensible “use it up before buying new” rule. Now
I’m trying to use up the dried pantry goods before year end. So that I can start the New Year with fresh stuff! Ha!Ha!

What do I have here?

A package of multi-coloured pasta called Trecce dell’orto. Google translate says it is “Braids of the garden”. Don’t you just love the poetic names Italians give their pasta?

The manufacturer describes these braids as “Durum wheat semolina pasta with vegetables, spices, aromatic grasses and squid ink”.

0562Close up of Trecce dell’orto, Braids of the garden

I have never used this type of pasta so I decided to try the recipe printed on the package. It is in Italian but that is not a big problem. Not when there is translation software.

Let’s start with the name of the dish. Trecce dell’orto alla contadina. Contadina means peasant or farmer, so I figure the name of this dish translated literally is braids of the farmer’s garden.

So, with Google translate’s help, here is my version of the farmer’s braids:

Ingredients: For 4 servings

400 gr of the pasta
One onion
Half a pepper (I used a red pepper)
One clove of garlic
One cup of tomato sauce
8 black olives
3 anchovies packed in oil or one spoon of anchovy paste – I used the former
Half a glass of olive oil
Salt, pepper
Grated pecorino
Bay leaf


  1. Chop the onion and pepper.
  2. Sauté them in oil with the garlic and bay leaf.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, black olives, anchovies, oregano and basil.
  4. Add the salt and pepper and cook until the sauce thickens.
  5. Cook the pasta to al dente. Here are the manufacturer’s instructions on how to cook pasta correctly.
  6. Drain the pasta and put into the pan to cook with the sauce.
  7. Add some freshly-ground pepper and grated pecorino.
  8. Serve.

Note: I didn’t read the recipe properly when I bought the olives. I used sliced olives but the recipe must use whole black olives as it doesn’t mention chopping olives. Also, I garnished with chopped flat-leaf parsley.

0609Here is the scientific reason we must eat pasta:

“the true strong point is that pasta makes happy and not only thanks to its good flavour; the sugars and the tryptophan amino acid concur to the production of the hormone of the happiness, the serotonin, that it is famous to contributes to improve humour.

0614Eat pasta, pasta is your best medicine.

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