Friday, April 06, 2007

Presto Pasta Nights #6

The week seems to have rolled around quite quickly and it's pasta time again with Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Ruth from Once upon a Feast.

Since it's Good Friday it obviously means that my pasta dish will once again be meat free. I'll be using a pasta that comes from Puglia known as Orecchiette which translates to "little ears" in English - it's quite obvious once you see them


While the pasta is authentic - they are made by La Genuina from Puglia and imported by Enoteca Sileno here in Melbourne, the dish is another matter.

I've taken as a starting point a traditional Pugliesi recipe of Orecchiette con Broccoli and put a bit of an Emilia-Romagna twist on it. A favourite pasta dish that my mother makes uses potatoes and peas as the basis of it's sauce, so I've decided to replace the peas with Broccolini and came up with this.


Orecchiette con Patate e Broccolini/ Orecchiette with Potato and Broccolini
[Serves 2]

Fresh/Dried Orecchiette
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 anchovy fillets, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 Kipfler potatoes
1 bunch Broccolini or 1 small head Broccoli
fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
freshly ground salt and black pepper

Boil the potatoes in their skin until just tender but not mushy. Peel and the cut into and even dice - they will continue cooking in the sauce so it's important not to over-boil them.

If using the Broccolini, remove the heads and put them to one side. Slice the stems at an even thickness on the diagonal. Boil or steam this until softened but leave them a bit on the crunchy side as they will continue cooking in the sauce.

Cut the heads into even sized florets and boil/steam them until they start to soften. This will take only a minute or two.

Heat a little olive oil with a knob of butter in a pan and when the butter has melted and started to sizzle add the anchovies - stir them into the oil so they start to dissolve then add the onions. When the onions have softened but not coloured add the garlic and potato cubes. Sauté until the potatoes start to colour then add the broccolini stems. Continue over a low heat, stirring often.

When the pasta has almost cooked add the florets along with a heaped tablespoon of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a tablespoon of pasta water - the cheese and water will combine to form a rough sauce. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and a handful of roughly torn fresh basil leaves.

Add in the cooked pasta and another heaped tablespoon of Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir this through while keeping the pan over the heat. When well amalgamated serve in bowls topped with another sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano.


I haven't used any cream to make a sauce - I find that the cheese is enough to give you that creamy characteristic. However, if you so desire you could add cream instead of the Parmigiano-Reggiano/water combination.

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  1. Haalo, it looks absolutely delicious and the photo is so good I can feel the cheese melting in my mouth.

    Thanks for joining in Presto Pasta Night once again. It wouldn't be the same without you.

  2. I love orecchiette pasta. Love the shape, size and texture.


  3. Thanks Ruth - it's always a pleasure to be able to join in.

    Hi Paz, that little bowl shape is great for holding sauce.

  4. I love broccolini - much more than I love broccoli.

    What a delicious dish, Haalo! Another great recipe for me to try at home.

  5. Thanks Patricia - the broccolini are extra sweet and I can happily eat them by themselves.


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