4 posts tagged pasta
4 posts tagged pasta
Tonight’s dinner: roasted pepper and leek soup, followed by spaghetti alla bolognese
Sometimes you go out and shop for the perfect ingredients to make the perfect meal, and sometimes you open the fridge, find all the things that are about to go off, and throw them together. This soup came from the latter school of thought, and I got lucky; it was great.
Leek and roasted pepper soup
Put the peppers in a large, shallow roasting tray. Toss with smoked sea salt and olive oil. Roast at 200 deg C (400 deg F) for around 20-30 minutes, until just starting to char.
Meanwhile, melt butter or put olive oil in the bottom of a large pan. Sweat the onion, garlic and leeks for ten minutes until soft and golden.
Add the stock and the peppers. Bring to the boil and simmer for twenty minutes. Season to taste with pepper and smoked salt. Using a stick blender, purée thoroughly, adding water if desired to thin the soup. Serve immediately, decorated with a swirl of cream.
Fettuccine all’Alfredo with crab
A quick midweek dinner, inspired (if you can call it inspiration…) by the fact that I had some crab from The Potted Fish Co left over in the freezer from the Abergavenny Food Festival that clearly needed to be eaten up.
(Footnote: I have it on good authority from Federico Viticci that “Fettuccine all’Alfredo” is the most grammatically correct name for this dish. TMYK!)
Dinner tonight: chicken Parmesan
I’ve made this a number of times before — who hasn’t, right? — but I don’t like to just keep making things the same way so I tried something different today: this recipe from Serious Eats / Cook’s Illustrated.
I’ve always been dubious about the baking part of chicken Parmesan. You go to quite a lot of effort to get crisp breadcrumbs, then immediately soak it in tomato sauce, thus ending up with a soggy exterior again. This recipe fries the escalopes, tops them with cheese, and grills them to melt the cheese, adding the sauce only as the meal is plated. That’s much more to my tastes.
You do need to be careful that the chicken is cooked through, however. I paid quite close attention to the timing and heat, removing the chicken from the pan as it hit approximately 55 deg C (measured via my Thermapen). It finished cooking under the (fiercely pre-heated) grill and came out pretty good.
Pasta alla carbonara
This was what I made for dinner tonight. I’ve been making a lot of carbonara lately, trying out various minor variations; this one was based on this post at Serious Eats which was in turn based on a recipe from Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon. I doubled the cheese, though (using a 50/50 mix of pecorino and parmigiano-reggiano), and on a whim I added half a finely diced shallot in with the pancetta.
Overall, I’d say this was the most successful one I’ve made yet. All my previous attempts have used a modest amount of cream and wine in the sauce, and consequently have been too wet on the plate. This one had a much better texture to the sauce. The only criticism I’d make is that the caramelised shallot added a slight brown tinge to the sauce which I wasn’t quite happy about. On the other hand it added a subtle sweet note to the flavour that I really liked, so maybe I’ll use shallots next time too.