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.
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 :)
1 diced shallot
Pasta à la Monique for Two -
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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