I am so glad that you are here. Finally. Please bring your friends the spring, the sun, the new leaves, the budding buds and fill the world with green cheer and light. Have a party, dance the night away, stay as long as you wish.
I am celebrating your coming with this light and summery pasta which I sometimes eat in the winter* to remind me of you. And bring some spring cheer to thaw the winter chills!
It's lovely to have you with us.
Love & peace!
This pasta recipe that I am sharing with you today is an easy peasy one like most of my pasta recipes are. It is a quick and hassle free week night dinner. This recipe is a mix of two/three recipes and evolved over the trials at my kitchen.
The purple sprouting broccolis are a very seasonal vegetable and in the markets for a really short time. I always associate them with spring. Because the first time I bought these was when we had gone for a walk to the Alexander Palace to admire the cherry blossoms and then ventured into the farmer's marker. I saw these lovely broccoli like vegetables with purple flowers. I just had to buy them. I bought a bunch, came home and did research and found out about this cousin of broccoli's.
One of the star ingredients of my recipe is the Parmigiano Reggiano, lots and lots of it grated and lightly mixed with the pasta at the very end.
Recently I went to a cook-off organised by Parmigiano Reggiano at the Divertimenti Cookery School, London. We started the evening by tasting the cheese matured for 12, 24 and 36 months. Prior to this I had never eaten this incredible cheese raw, always cooked. The matured cheese tastes awesome, specially with some Balsamic Vinegar. That evening I think I ate a ton of cheese. We also cooked with the cheese under the expert guidance of top chef Valentina Harris. It was a great experience and I learnt a lot about the cheese and the craftsmen who are involved in creating this cheese. I was given some cheese which I used in making this pasta.
Ingredient List:1. 150 grams of Fettuccine pasta
2. 100 grams of purple sprouting broccoli, washed and use a knife to slightly slit the stalks at the bottom so that they cook quickly and evenly
3. 4 to 6 rashers of bacon**, cut into bite sized pieces
4. 2 to 3 pods of garlic, finely minced
5. One fat red chilly, deseeded and thinly sliced
6. Juice of one lemon
7. One cup of white wine (I usually use fruity white wine)
8. One shallot, chopped
9. Half a cup to one cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
10. Two table spoons of olive oil
11. Salt and pepper to taste
Cooking the pasta:
Step 1: Chopping and cutting as mentioned in the ingredient list.
Step 2: In the pan in which you will boil the pasta, boil about two litres of water, once the water has come to a boil, first cook the broccoli for 2 to 3 mins till they turn slightly tender. Use a sieve to pick up the broccoli, drain and keep aside.
Step 3: Add the pasta in the same water. Do not forget to generously flavour the water with salt. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the back of the packet. Generally in my experience it takes about 12 minutes, but cooking may vary, so please do check.
Step 4: While the pasta is boiling, turn on the heat to medium low, add olive oil in another pan, add the minced garlic and the bacon. Fry the bacon till it turns light brown, then add the chopped shallots, red chilly slices and fry for a couple of minutes more.
Step 5: By now you will get getting a nice smell of frying bacon, garlic and shallots. Also they would turn slightly brown around the edges. Add the wine, increase the heat and bring it to a boil.
Step 6: Once the wine is boiling, reduce the heat, add the lime juice, the drained broccoli and flavour with salt and pepper. Switch off the heat.
Step 7: By now the pasta would be about ready. Please retain about half a cup of pasta water before draining the rest of it.
Step 8: Add the pasta to the pan and mix well with the other ingredients. Slowly add the grated cheese, mixing well. If the pasta feels too dry, add the pasta water a little at a time, mixing well.
Step 9: Check the pasta, taste the seasoning.
Step 10: The pasta is ready, garnish it some more cheese and serve.
I serve this with a simple green salad and crusty bread.
* When I prepare this pasta out of season, I use broccoli, one time I have also used asparagus and it was really yum.
** For halal version you can replace the bacon with chicken or shrimps.
For vegetarian version skip out the bacon, increase the amount of purple sprouting broccoli.