Recently I came across this woman’s cooking show on tv and in the episode I watched she made a dish she called “spaghetti alla ziff.” I wasn’t able to find it anywhere else online but from what she said on the show the dish is from the southern Italian region (the instep of the boot) of Basilicata where supposedly peppers of varying kinds are used extensively in cooking. The dish is simple, containing only garlic, olive oil, parsley, ground pepper, and spaghetti, but I thought it was pretty interesting. I followed here recipe fairly closely but couldn’t remember the exact order in which all the ingredients were added. The garlic (I used two large cloves) is sautéd in olive oil, I then added a bit of cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes, briefly sautéd a bit longer before added a few ladles of water that the pasta was cooking in, adding a bit more pepper. A minute or so after adding the water I added the half-cooked pasta into the pan to finish cooking, adding a bit more pepper again. When the water was all gone I mixed in the parsely, mixing it in before putting the pasta on my plate. I couldn’t remember when she added the pepper before or after adding water to the pan so I did both. She said the dish is called spaghetti alla ziff because of the sound the pepper makes when added to the pan. To get some fresh vegetables into the meal I had also earlier prepared a simple salad of cherry tomatoes (which were perfect, and local), diced tofu (a decent stand-in for feta or a similar cheese) rubbed with garlic salt, fresh basil, olive oil, and some lemon juice. Once again simple, but the simplicity really let the natural flabouv of the tomatoes and basil shine, and the coolness was good to offset the pasta which was quite spicy. I love pasta and salads and these quick, simple examples were really satisfying together. I thought too that the pasta dish was a little different and worth sharing.