Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Don't know What This Is, so I'm Going to Eat It

There's a philosophy that applies equally well to me & my recipes as to toddlers & their boogers. NOM.

Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange
This one is valuable more for the technique than the taste (although that too, is very good). Instead of crafting the noodles and sauce separately, you combine them in a skillet shortly before the pasta is al dente. In a sense, the sauce gets cooked in, flavouring each individual noodle and bringing the dish together much better than you could otherwise. Also, it takes literally no time at all; it's effortless deliciousness, no matter what you throw in the sauce. You could simply add pepper and cheese, and it would be to die for.

If you knew this trick already, good for you. If you don't, congratulations, you will never think of pasta dishes the same way again.

ps. homemade pasta rocks
  • salt
  • 12oz egg tagliatelle or fettuccine (preferably fresh)
  • 2 Tbs (1/4 stick) butter
  • 2oz thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1min before al dente (about 2min for fresh pasta, longer for dried). Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto; sauté until browned, about 3min

Add reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of zest, and cream; bring to a boil. Add pasta; cook, stirring, until sauce coasts pasta and pasta is al dente, about 1min. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese and divide among warm bowls.

Penne with Chocolate, Pistachios, and Goat Cheese
Ok, read this recipe. Right now, just read it. You will probably have the same reaction I did, namely: "...what? what? What the ...what?!" And so on. In my world, such a reaction to a recipe entails cooking it as soon as possible. I mean, come on! You boil your penne in wine, and then smother it in cheese and chocolate! How could you not want to eat that?

The dish works surprisingly well. Disparate flavours meld together to form an elusive yet elaborate taste that left me staring dumbly into my bowl. The catch is that it's very creamy -- so much so that you can't eat more than a medium-small serving before you simply get sick of the texture. Overall, I would qualify this as an unexpectedly impressive dish, but one better suited to fancy dinner parties. All chocolate dinner, anyone?
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 12oz penne
  • 4 cups (1 liter) dry white wine
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 3oz white chocolate
  • 4oz mascarpone cheese
  • 2oz fresh creamy goat cheese
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 3oz bittersweet chocolate, finely grated // waaay too much. Try 1/2oz
Heat the oil in a small saupan and sauté the onion until just transparent; do not let it color. Add the penne and stir well over medium heat for 2min. (Note: no, I have no idea why we're sautee-ing raw pasta with the onion. Suspect you could skip this.) Pour in the wine and milk and season with salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until cooked al dente.

Chop the pistachios coarsely in a food processor. Place the white chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone, goat cheese, and milk. Drain the penne and place in a heated serving bowl. Pour the chocolate sauce over the top and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios. Toss well. Serve hot with the grated dark chocolate sprinkled over the top.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

something similar to the chocolate pasta is a delicacy at a local bar where I am :) Love the gutsiness of it all!