I have always loved Tashas cafes and restaurants, so when she published her own cookbook a few months ago, I put in a pre-order through Takealot to make sure I got my copy without delay. Since then, I have loved paging through it and simply getting lost in the recipes and beautiful styling of each plate of food. All her recipes have a story, and what I love most is that its unfussy and honest cooking at its best.
Natasha Sideris is the creator and founder of this super successful restaurant group. She opened the first Tashas in Atholl, Johannesburg in 2005. Since partnering with Famous Brands in 2008, another twelve Tashas have opened countrywide and more recently, one in Dubai. Each store has its own identity and menu, ranging from New York deli to French Style chic.
In her book Tasha shares some of her favourite recipes and the most popular dishes from the café menus. It is a celebration of uncomplicated, but delicious food. I love her approach to cooking…“Cooking is a lot like life. There is no rulebook: we make it up as we muddle along.” Definitely how I often approach my time in the kitchen!
This is one of her favourite dishes, and one that I am dying to try myself.
Mascarpone & Roast Tomato Penne
For the oven roasted tomatoes:
1kg cherry tomatoes
40ml olive oil
salt and black pepper
pinch of rosemary
500g pasta, uncooked
pinch of fresh rosemary, chopped
320g mascarpone cheese
salt and pepper
2 large handfuls of rocket, chopped
40g Parmesan shavings
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the tomatoes on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, scatter with rosemary and roast until wrinkled.
Cook the penne in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a pan. Add the roasted cherry tomatoes and the remaining rosemary. Squash the tomatoes with the back of a spoon to release the juices. Add the mascarpone and allow it to melt slowly over a low heat. Then add one handful of the rocket and let it wilt. Season to taste.
Drain the cooked pasta and toss through the sauce.
Top with fresh rocket and Parmesan shavings.
Picture credits : Tashas