Sunday, 20 May 2012

My very "Cheery" Cherry Tomato & Barilla Zucchini Pesto Caserecce Siciliane

Hello my loyal followers.

First of all thank you for your patience and thank you for following The McGrath's Kitchen blog.
I have been very busy in the last two months and have not been able to post as often as I would like. I can assure you that I am always creating content for the blog, as at home I cook 90% of our meals. I can't help it, somehow for me its easier to prepare a meal at home than book reservation at a restaurant. I am very lucky though, because of our lifestyle I get the chance to go to many restaurants. This is great because not only do I get spoiled I get new ideas of how I can translate those fancy restaurant meals into a quick one for the whole family.
 As many of you may know Glenn is the main ambassador for Australian Year of the Farmer and I have been lucky enough to jump on the band wagon. I recently had the opportunity to cook at the Woman's Weekly test kitchen and also join Lyndey Milan in the Super Market Challenge at the Royal Easter Show.
It was a great experience and certainly an intimidating one to be in front of a large crowd on stage with a microphone chatting away....but I guess once you realise how nice the crowd is and how generous people are, by listening to what you have to say, it gets easier and one can ease into the points that need to come across.
They were all very lovely to help me promote the McGrath's Kitchen Blog and give me the opportunity to talk about the importance of buying local produce from Aussie farmers, as well as creating awareness about how we go about educating our children about healthy eating habits. It was a real honour to be amongst these fantastic women.

Another reason that the McGrath's Kitchen has been a bit slow is because after almost two years of researching, planning, and networking we have finally been able to open MCLEMOI GALLERY.

MCLEMOI GALLERY is our new art gallery, please go to WWW.MCLEMOI.COM to see the fantastic contemporary artists that we will be showcasing in Chippendale (suburb of Sydney).
If you are a lover of contemporary art you will thoroughly enjoy our current exhibition "Decepcion" by Luis Gispert.

You can make a day trip with the family and come visit us in Chippendale, it is a fantastic suburb that is changing the face of the arts scene in Sydney. We are not the only gallery in the area, on the contrary you will notice we are only a block away from the White Rabbit Gallery, NG Art Gallery and Mission Cafe, Galerie Pom Pom, The Commerical Gallery (soon to open) and many other galleries and artist run initiatives.

There are also some very nice spots to eat, my favourite and one where I can easily say I am a local at is Bar Mattino on the corner of Meagher and Abercrombie St.; owned  by Sigrid and Chef Sebastian. (He makes a delicious snapper, so if I can get him to divulge the recipe it might end up on the McGrath's Kitchen, it's divine and he accompanies it with spinach and celeriac mash that I can still taste in my mouth it was that good...yummy.)
Anyway, that is my little anecdote for this post and a bit of an update on what is happening in my world.


I came home one day to a cherry tomato plant totally grown with mature juicy cherry tomatoes right by our garage. It must have been seeds that were planted randomly by a neighbour or a bird planted them. I know that because out of the things I might be good at, gardening is absolutely not one of them.
My plants either die by over-watering or forgetting to water them at all...I know it's very bad of me.
So I guess that was my lucky day, just by the car port hundreds of the sweetest little tomatoes ready for me to make dinner with. (To be honest I almost contemplated a veggie garden but it would turn into a catastrophe so I will not even attempt it.) So for those of you who do have a veggie garden you know the satisfaction of cooking with the veggies from your own garden.

A while back I received a lovely package from the team at Barilla (my favourite pasta brand.) They knew that even though I like making my own sauces from scratch, it would be nice to receive some of their pesto pre-made sauces.  I enjoy both making my own or using Barrilla's pesto jars; they are great and can make your life very easy. (I caught my mom using one of them when I went to Italy, and she make the best pesto from scratch, so I figured if it passed my mothers test then it's safe for me to use.) Once again it is a prepackaged product, so please take you own measures to assure that they meet and satisfy the eating requirements of your entire family.

I have used the pesto, not in the traditional way that you would imagine, but have used it to marinate the zucchini. (In the past I have also marinated the zucchini; cut in large chunks and then placed them on the BBQ, very tasty.)

I cook this pasta recipe in two parts and use Casarecce Sicialiane, which is a type of pasta.
It is ideal for this and many other recipes.

photos are from the Barilla website., please visit their website for all the information on their products and different varieties of pasta available. 

Olive oil
Garlic salt
1/2 a red onion
1 scallion
1 large garlic clove
2 cups of zucchini - cut into cubes
2 to 3 cups of cherry tomatoes
1 jar of pesto alla genovese from Barilla
1 large can of tuna in olive oil
400g of Casarecce Siciliane
Salt & pepper
100g of Parmiggiano 
Fresh basil
Peperoncino/ chill flakes - if you wish to add some spice

1st part: In a pan add a little extra virgin olive oil the red onion and garlic. Once the onion and garlic have browned add tuna; you don't have to drain the oil. Cook the tuna so it picks up the flavours of the onion and garlic.  You may add a dash of garlic salt...but very little..then add the cherry tomatoes.

2nd part: In a separate a bowl marinate the zucchini in the pesto sauce for 5 minutes...the important thing is that they are evenly coated in the pesto sauce. Add a little extra virgin olive oil and fry the scallions until soft, then add the zucchini marinaded in the pesto. Pour the all the pesto sauce and cook the zucchini until soft.


When both are ready combine the two (cherry tomato/ tuna and the zucchini pesto) and once the pasta is cooked and you have drained it, stir everything together (you can add fresh basil at the end.)

The reason I cooked the zucchini and the cherry tomatoes separate, is so that they both equally soak up the flavours of the most intense ingredients. I add the drained pasta directly to the pan then add a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and mix it all throughly.

I add a little bit of parmigginao cheese and it is ready to serve, also some fresh basil maybe pepper or chill flakes if you prefer spicy. 



  1. Authentic preparation ! You took stunning photos !

  2. I am so trying this for dinner tonight. I bought the Casarecce yesterday with a cherry tomato sauce in mind, but I'm making this. Can't wait! Thanks Sara.