Thursday, March 29, 2018

Pasta à la Monique and Sourdough Bread!


Even though the first week or so of spring has been challenging weather-wise, I have had a delicious, savory time in the kitchen!

Recently, Monique at La Table de Nana, shared this delightful pasta dish with rapini, bacon and pine nuts that included dry sherry.  I had just used sherry in a stir fry recipe not that long ago, and when she mentioned using sherry in her pasta dish I knew it would taste terrific.  And it did :)


I didn't have any penne pasta which Monique uses, but the campanelle pasta that I did have in the pantry worked fine and I love the spirally trumpet shape.

My pea shoots are still going strong so decided to add some as a garnish. It would be nice to stir them into the dish right at the end so they wilt slightly too. Such a good dish!  My husband loved it too.

I added a little more sherry and pasta water to make it even more saucy and tossed in lots of grated parmesan, as Monique suggests.  You can see Monique's instructions here.  I served it with some freshly made sourdough bread.


See that rabbit shape on the far right? That's the shape I was happy to finally create  :)

I've been keeping my sourdough starter alive for over a year but I've never been able to achieve the type of bread I'd been longing for until after I ordered a couple of books to read.  The bread above was made with Ken Forkish's levain ingredients and ratios from his book Flour Water Salt Yeast.  The whole wheat flour added to my starter feeding really made a difference.


Sort of fitting for Easter, don't you think?  My rabbit even has eyes and what looks like a hind leg :)

I used the techniques I found in Emilie Raffa's book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple.   She really does simplify the long process.  So far, I've tried two of her recipes and both worked very well with the greatest success coming from the 'high hydration' recipe.  It was so good I couldn't stop eating it myself :) The crust was amazing. Still not as 'holey' as some breads I see on Instagram but I'm happy with my first new results so far and I'll keep working on it!  I know a lot of people aren't into nurturing sourdough starters, and making bread, but if you are, just send me a private email and I can tell you what I did.


The past couple of weeks we've celebrated two birthdays in our family (including yours truly) and have two more coming up in the next two weeks with my husband's birthday falling on Easter Sunday this year.  Fun times ♥ 


Wishing you and your family a safe and joyous Easter or Passover weekend!

Monique's pasta would make a delicious side dish for your holiday menu :)


Pasta à la Monique for Two - 

1 diced shallot
3 or 4 cloves of minced garlic
1 small bunch of rapini, cleaned and cut into 1-2" pieces, discarding the tough ends
Toasted pine nuts
Cooked bacon, as much as you like - perhaps 2-3 pieces per person, diced
Cooked pasta, perhaps 1/2 pound of dry pasta - save a half cup of pasta cooking water before draining
1/8 cup dry sherry...or more :)
Lots of grated Parmesan - perhaps 4 oz or to your liking
Red Pepper Flakes, a pinch
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh basil, parsley or pea shoots for garnish :)

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium high heat. Saute the shallot and garlic about a 30 seconds or so being careful not to burn.  Add rapini and cover pan to let it steam-cook for about 3 minutes until just barely tender.  Remove cover and toss in the rest of the pasta, pine nuts and bacon. Add the sherry and a splash of pasta cooking water and toss.  Add the parmesan and seasonings and toss.  Add more sherry or cooking water if you like.  Pass the Parmesan and red pepper flakes at the table.  Simple and tasty!!

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36 comments:

  1. I love that beautifully baked rabbit sourdough :-) perfect crust and crumb, Susan. O pasta...how I miss them! Yours looks fabulous with pinenuts and pea shots! Happy Spring and Gardening!

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    1. Thank you, Angie! We don't have pasta that often but I love it too ;)

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  2. Monique is always making something delicious and this is no exception! The pasta looks wonderful and your bread is beautiful Susan!

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    1. You are right about that :) Thank you, Chris! I've had fun experimenting!

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  3. Ha, ha, I see the bunny! Happy Easter Weekend Susan-have fun with the kids:@)

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  4. Looks delicious. Love the title and that bunny....:)

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  5. Happy birthday and happy Easter! Your bread looks fantastic and so does the pasta. Love the sherry sauce :) I'll have to try making sour dough bread one of these days. Thanks so much - happy spring too!

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    1. Thank you, Tricia! Happy Easter to you and your family! Hopefully the weather will start to feel like spring here soon ;)

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  6. Well....Happy Belated Birthday wishes are sent to you, Susan! The pasta salad and your bread look fabulous. The pea shoots sure add such a beauty to the dish, don't they? Happy birthday to your hubby and s Blessed Easter to you.

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    1. Thank you, Kitty! :) I've really enjoyed using the fresh pea shoots in just about everything lately. Getting ready to plant some outdoors this weekend :)

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  7. Your braed! Look at you..it's perfect in my eyes..and I am so happy you like that dish too..fun to taste..to better it and better it..you nailed it w/ the important additions of more is more:)♥I've been smitten w/ those bunnies..they look so happy at your home:)
    Happy Easter my dear Susan:)
    PS Pea Shoot fan as you know now because of you.

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    1. I'm planning on making another loaf this weekend, started the process this morning. Wish it didn't take two days but good bread is worth the effort :) John and I both loved the pasta and I know I'll be making it again very soon. Thank you for the wonderful recipe! My pea shoots are still happy...the more I clip the more little shoots keep branching off for me ♥ Playing in the dirt has always been fun to me, I guess ;) I hope the Easter bunny has fun at your home this weekend ♥

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  8. All beautiful Susan, love this bread!! Happy Easter!! xoxoxo

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    1. Thank you, Dear ♥ Happy Easter to you and your family! xoxo

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  9. This looks like a tasty pasta dish and I'm definitely going to make it. Your sourdough bread...I'd be so intimidated to make it, much less struggle to get that darling bunny shape! Wow! The perfect crunchiness on the outside and the soft, fragrant inside---I'm imagining of course, but I'm sure you nailed it! I need to get back to bread making, you are inspiring!

    Happy Birthday to you and all your loves! Have a blessed Easter!

    Jane

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    1. It's so much better than my photos show, Jane. I hope you try it! No worries about the bread, it's a labor of love :) There are lots of delicious breads to make without a sourdough starter too! Happy Easter to you and your family!

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  10. That pasta looks fantastic but that bread - wow, a masterpiece. Enjoy your family and those birthdays. Happy Easter to you and yours.

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    1. Thanks so much, Linda! Happy Easter to you and your family!

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  11. What a pretty post! And a lovely weekend to have a birthday! The pasta salad and that bread would be perfect for my Easter meal!

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    1. I was thinking it would make a great side dish for Easter too :) Thank you, Mimi! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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  12. Both , the pasta salad and the bread would make a perfect meal for me. Happy late Birthday and happy Easter!

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  13. Happy Easter to you and your family Susan, lovely post !

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    1. Sorry I'm late in wishing your a Happy Easter too, Chiara! Thank you!

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  14. What a pretty meal! Hope you had a very Happy Easter ♥

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  15. I am now quite hungry looking at your pasta dish, it looks beautiful, the perfect lunch. I am also a devoted Monique fan :-)
    Amalia
    xo

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  16. This does sound like a great recipe and I love that pea shoot garnish! I also have that pasta shape in the pantry but no rapini. But THAT bread! Oh my girl. That is outstanding! I'm so glad Passover is over!

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    1. Thank you, Abbe! I was so happy with both recipes!

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  17. This is such a perfect pasta dish for spring and bread looks absolutely irresistible!

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  18. As always, your recipes are delightful! As you know, our last cookbook club theme was hosting a dish from your blog. I chose a chopped salad and it was a hit.

    Happy spring!

    Velva

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  19. Happy belated birthday, Susan :) Your bread is gorgeous and I'm definitely going to add this salad into our rotation. Looks satisfying and sounds so flavorful!

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