Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Autumn Pasta

Tenderstem broccoli has been in supermarket shelves of my local supermarket for quite sometime now but it's only recently that I got to try it. It wasn't hard to convince me since I like the regular broccoli. This tenderstem is a cross between Chinese kale and broccoli. Its appearance is similar to the Chinese gai lan with a slender and tender stem and a darker colouring than broccoli.

October's recipe in our BBC GoodFood calendar has this pasta recipe using the tenderstem. I've been eyeing it for a full month before I organized all the ingredients. And stupid me, even when I was mixing the herbs and pine nuts, did not realise I was making a rough pesto. Duh!

This dish is a welcome change to our usual spag bol, meatballs, or baked pasta that we have week in-week out. I must say it's quite healthy, too, what with those dark green tenderstem, herbs, and pine nuts.

Autumn Pasta

1 garlic clove - finely chopped
25 g  toasted pine nuts - chopped
1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley or basil
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
25 g  parmesan - coarsely grated
200 g  tenderstem broccoli
100 g  Chanterelle or chestnut or other wild mushrooms - sliced
2 slices Parma ham or streaky bacon - cut in long strips
175 g  spaghetti
  1. Chop finely half of the tenderstem broccoli and slice the rest in half diagonally.
  2. Drop the chopped tenderstem in a pan of boiling water, cook for 2 minutes. Drain and put into a bowl.
  3. Add in the parmesan, pine nuts, garlic and parsley into the cooked tenderstem.
  4. Drizzle 3 Tbsp of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss well.
  5. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions but 3-4 minutes before the end of cooking time add in the sliced tenderstem.
  6. While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the parma ham or bacon then drain on some paper towels.
  7. Add mushrooms to the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes. Season with pepper.
  8. Drain the spaghetti and sliced tenderstem in a colander. Return to the pot and toss with tenderstem pesto and and the mushrooms.
  9. Serve onto warmed bowls topped with the crisp parma ham or bacon.

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